Dealing with unexpected, stressful events is the cornerstone of sustainable performance. The ability to cultivate adaptive resilience is crucial in the uncertain, volatile and complex world post Covid19. One thing is for sure, there is no new global “normal”. So how can you adapt, thrive and survive?
Adaptive Resilience in the Real world
The last 6 months have been enormously challenging for individuals, leaders and businesses. Adaptive resilience is dynamic and requires both individuals and organisations to pivot, adapt and maintain agility during turbulent times. Research has demonstrated that organisations that are able to cultivate adaptive resilience during complex, challenging and unpredictable times are better placed to flourish and survive sudden upheaval. But how?
Adaptive Resilience & Flourishing
Billions of people are experiencing a global health crises and the associated economic effects post pandemic. Resilience may well be the most positive resource that we can develop right now to navigate adversity. But, adaptive resilience is more than bouncing back from a negative event. It’s more complex than that. It is the ability to retain adaptability, to flex and flourish in the eye of the storm of unprecedented overwhelm. What’s more, adaptive resilience is a skill that can be cultivated.
Cultivating Adaptive Resilience
What does it take for organisations and individuals to cultivate adaptive resilience when faced with global turbulence & chronic stress?
Being aware of the situation is crucial. When disruptive forces are at play, the ability to recognise a rapidly evolving new landscape is key. It can be all too easy to become consumed by the intensity of chronic stress and slip into denial. The ability to recognise and pivot towards the unexpected buys organisations and individuals valuable time to plan and prepare for the best possible outcome. Relying on individual (and cultural) habitual, well worn thinking patterns only serves to compound overwhelm.
Developing situational awareness with mindfulness practices results in an open awareness of the new reality. When we engage in situational awareness practices on a regular basis we can choose how we respond to rapidly changes situations rather than reacting in a knee jerk, poorly judged fashion that hampers effective solutions. Our free Mindfulness at Work Toolkit and Mindful Leadership Toolkit will introduce you to mindfulness and how it can be used to develop situational awareness. These tools will guide you with simple strategies to increase your situational awareness during increasingly complex challenges in an ever changing environment.
Resilient Shared Social Processes
No matter how resilient individuals may be, they cannot do it alone when presented with systems and processes that foster chronic negative stress. Creating a shared culture and social processes that support people during periods of uncertainty and high pressure is critical. By building capacity for people to be resourceful, productive and creative, organisations are creating a structure that strengthens resilience.
Sustainable performance is made possible by regular renewal. Sacrificing too much for too long leads to stress and eventually, burnout. Without situational awareness and a supportive social processes, it’s easy to fall into sacrifice syndrome when the pressure is on.
Employing techniques like periodisation to create sustainable, high performance allows employees and teams to sustain high performance. Think about how your working practices are structured. Follow periods of intense activity with scheduled downtime rather than simply ploughing on in high stress situations.
Monitor Your Inner Narrative
Where resilience is concerned, our inner game is equally as important as external systems and processes. Research suggests that our stress mindset may be critical in terms of how we respond to stressful events. If your inner narrative is negative and focused on failure, the chances are, you’ll act accordingly.
Alia Crum, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford University examined the role of stress mindset and how it impacts our stress response. Using the Stress Mindset Measure (SMM) Crum assessed the extent that an individual believes stressful events are either enhancing or debilitating.
The research team discovered something incredible; the way that we perceive stress affects our ability to manage it, and that in turn, determines our stress response. If you lead a team and have a negative explanatory style, consider how you might adopt a more growth mindset, reframing events as an opportunity to learn.
Work Life Balance & Resilience
Whether teams are remote or office based, practices that encourage work life balance will enable your organisation to maintain productivity, creativity and efficacy during times of high pressure. Systems and processes that recognise the importance of wellbeing and self care will put you and your team in the best position to maintain resilience in high stress environments.
Resilience and Connection
Remain connected with colleagues whilst maintaining boundaries around working hours. Human connection (even virtual) is one of the most effective buffers that we have against stress. Maintaining contact during turbulent times is also an effective way of managing stress, checking in and supporting individuals and teams.
For further information on how to develop resilience, take a look at the Koru Development Free Building Resilience Toolkit. Koru Development has worked with hundreds of companies and individuals to build adaptive resilience. We’d like to invite you to learn more about our new online resilience training course. We look forward to helping you and your team to cultivate adaptive resilience.