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The Conference Board Webinar: How Organizational Resilience Can End Workplace Stress and Drive Competitive Advantage


Workplace stress is as pervasive as it has ever been. By building resilient organizations (not just resilient leaders and employees), you can create an important source of stability and psychological safety for your people that strengthens talent retention and competitive advantage for your company.  

In this webinar with The Conference Board, Daggerwing Group Principals Paul Thallner and Loren Heller, share the organizational resilience framework from Paul’s new book, Reinventing Resilience, which shows why creating resilient organizations is more important than ever. Audience members will walk away with practical tips on building team and organizational resilience at their companies. To learn more, watch the below video: 


This transcript was automatically generated with artificial intelligence. It’s in the queue to go through a review with human eyes!

00:00:00:00 – 00:01:28:03

Hello. I’m Regina Roy, senior fellow for Human Capital at the Conference Board. Thank you for joining today’s special webcast. How Organizational Resilience Can in Workplace Stress and Drive Competitive Advantage. I am head of the Health care Forum Health Care form of the human Capital Center here at the Conference Board. In addition to being a senior fellow, I need an attendance certificate for this webcast.

00:01:28:04 – 00:01:55:06

Click the icon shown to download your certificate at the end of the webcast. You can use that to claim continuing education credits. If you hold a certain certification to get the most out of this webcast, make sure to utilize the engagement tools located at the bottom of your screen. Using these, you can ask questions to the presenters and download available resources.

00:01:55:07 – 00:02:25:12

Please join me in welcoming all Tom and Lauren Heller principles with Dagger Wing Group. Lauren, take it away. Thank you so much for joining us and thank you, everybody for being here and speaking with us today, as she mentioned. I’m Lauren Heller, coming to you from Dallas. I’m a principal at Dar Growing Group, and I am thrilled to chat with you guys about a subject that is quickly becoming a passion of mine and one that Paul is really an expert.

00:02:25:12 – 00:02:53:00

And so, Paul, do you want to give a quick intro before we keep going? Sure. Paul Tyler, obviously a principal at that hearing group. I’m in Philadelphia and has a long history of doing organizational change and transformation work in a lot of industry. Wonderful. So before we get into the meta of today’s discussion, I just wanted to give everybody a quick a little bit of context into who we are as a growing group.

00:02:53:01 – 00:03:17:06

For those of you who either aren’t familiar with us or who may not have talked with us or heard from us in a while. So growing is a top ten global rated change consultancy. We were founded a little over 20 years ago and we work with Fortune 500 clients across 35 different countries and all different industries, companies and organizations.

00:03:17:07 – 00:03:42:05

What we do is we really focus on doing change right the first time, and we do that by focusing on the people side of change, which we’re going to talk about a lot today. In addition, we are also thought leaders in workplace transformation, in addition to her consultants all over the globe, contributing to New thinking in the field.

00:03:42:05 – 00:04:14:12

Through our blog, we interview innovative leaders on our podcast. We are frequent speakers at global workplace conferences and our work appears in all kinds of publications, including leading publications like the Harvard Business Review, which I’m sure many of you are familiar with. So today, Paul or Paul, who you just heard from deep into the area of organizational resilience and actually published a book about it called Reinventing Resilience.

00:04:14:13 – 00:04:47:01

That’s what we’re going to focus on today. But particularly we’re going to talk about how cultivating organizational resilience can not only create a great workplace for your people, but also create a long term competitive advantage for your business. So in today’s session, Paul and I will discuss why creating resilient organizations is more important than ever will expand our definition and understanding of resilience.

00:04:47:01 – 00:05:19:12

Particularly, we’ll explore Paul’s new organizational resilience framework. And most importantly, we’re going to walk away with some practical tips on building team and organizational resilience in your companies. So, Paul, why don’t we start with why organizational resilience is important in today’s world? That sounds good. Thanks so much, Lauren. Well, there’s a lot of reasons why resilience is important, but the only thing we know for sure is that change won’t stop, right?

00:05:19:12 – 00:05:49:08

So I think we’re all here. It’s early January, mid-January, and I’m sure that we all were hoping to turn the page on 2022 and start anew this year. But by looking at the headlines, you know, I think we all know that volatility and uncertainty will continue. So instead of wishing that normal would come back, you know, we might as well get used to the idea that getting better at growing through challenges is our new our new challenge for ourselves.

00:05:49:12 – 00:06:20:08

And I hope we can all work on that. So in fact, according to research here, Dr. Nadia Zimmer, Zambia chaos is the new normal At any given moment, somewhere in the world, there is a major disruption happening, whether it’s political unrest, economic recession, natural disaster, health crises, etc. And because the world is so intruded pendent, we feel these disruptions more than we ever had, the more than we ever have before.

00:06:20:08 – 00:06:41:14

So, for example, just a small one here in the the Democratic Republic of Congo. It’s a country that many of us might not think about that often. It’s actually the leading producer of Cobalt, which is the main raw material used for lithium ion batteries. Right. So think about your rechargeables, like your phone, your laptop and even your car.

00:06:42:00 – 00:07:16:02

There’s been recent floods there. There’s activity of armed resistance groups and an exodus of asylum seekers. And those are just some of the big challenges that that country is facing. And those challenges impact the production of cobalt, which impacts all of us. Right. And just think about it. That’s only one country and one raw material gem of CITES data from the World Economic Forum saying that there have been 469 country level recessions since 1988 or basically one every three and a half weeks for 35 years.

00:07:16:03 – 00:07:41:12

So the rise in uncertainty and other factors combined with the need to stay competitive are putting pressure on organizations to change or reinvent themselves much more frequently than they had to in the past. On average, organizations are now reinventing themselves to stay competitive every 5 to 6 years, and it’s only going to become more frequent as we go along.

00:07:41:13 – 00:08:09:10

So one thing that continuous change impacts is people’s stress. And given everything that I just mentioned, one of the main sources of stress for people is their workplace. In fact, excuse me, in fact, Stanford professor Dr. Jeffrey Pfeffer in his book Dying for a Paycheck, said the workplace is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.

00:08:09:11 – 00:08:36:14

And that is why I think you. Yeah, go ahead. Yeah, that’s it’s absolutely crazy. I think, you know, as you can see on screen a number of different quotes from and, you know, companies and news organizations around how workplace stress really is real. You know, we’re seeing it with all of our clients. We’re seeing it in every different business and organization.

00:08:36:14 – 00:09:00:02

It is industry. The fact of the matter is people are more stressed out than ever, you know, whether you are working from home today or from an office, whether your company decided to go hybrid or go all in on one or the other, the fact of the matter is people are working around the clock. They are burned out, they are stressed out, they’re totally exhausted.

00:09:00:05 – 00:09:21:02

You know, as Paul and I were prepping for today’s session, we were talking a lot about, you know, this particular moment in time and why this particular topic is so important right now. And the fact of the matter is, three years into a global pandemic, we are at a really important turning point. You know, year one was crisis.

00:09:21:03 – 00:09:40:03

Everybody was just trying to figure out how to stay in business. Your two was this sort of in kind of in limbo transition period where, you know, they were just trying to make sure there are people that were equipped to be able to do work from home. And maybe going in year three was then more of that transition into a new normal.

00:09:40:05 – 00:10:02:02

And the fact of the matter is companies and businesses are now saying we’re ready to move forward, like we are ready to put that behind us and move forward. And the fact of the matter is people the people at the companies are exhausted and they’re burned out. You know, it’s this really big imbalance that we have right now.

00:10:02:02 – 00:10:22:05

And that one one thing that Paul and I talked about with regard to that, I have a client who over the last 12 months has had three different leaders on her team, basically tell her, I need to take extended time off of work. I don’t want to quit, but I need a month or more because I am so burnt out, you know?

00:10:22:05 – 00:10:54:02

And that whole concept is something that three years ago would have never even been considered. And yet that is kind of where people are. So just have that lens on during today’s conversation because it really is a critical moment in time to start adopting this resilient mindset and creating organizations that really are resilient for sure. Yeah. And even the, you know, stress is something that’s been on the radar of organizations like the United Nations for a long time.

00:10:54:02 – 00:11:15:02

For instance, they declared occupational stress a global epidemic, and this was even before COVID, and it only gotten worse. It only got worse since then has learned, as is talking about the World World Health Organization regards stress as one of the most challenging health problems of our time and global leaders at Davos recently affirmed that stress is a killer, right?

00:11:15:02 – 00:11:40:08

So of course, the physical effects of stress on people are well documented. We all know kind of maybe we’re have experienced ourselves the effects of workplace stress on our bodies and our headspace and things like that. But the economic consequences are also incredibly alarming. So stress costs the United States alone more than $200 billion every year in absenteeism, lost productivity.

00:11:40:11 – 00:12:07:05

Staff turnover, worker’s compensation, medical insurance and other stress related expenses. So, you know, the pandemic, the great resignation and all and other factors since then have caused companies to really take notice. And many companies have responded with programs to help individuals manage their stress. That’s great. You know, maybe that helps them improve their over wellbeing and strengthen their personal resilience.

00:12:07:06 – 00:12:32:11

And those are really important and necessary steps. But recently, John Emmanuel Deneuve, an Oxford economist, was quoted in a Financial Times article that that was about workplace well-being. And he said, You can’t yoga your way out of these more structural issues underpinning mental and physical health. So he goes on to say that mindfulness is necessary and those are great.

00:12:32:11 – 00:13:12:08

It is. It’s a great thing to do for ourselves, but it’s not sufficient since it doesn’t address the main organizational issues that create difficult stress inducing workplaces. So that’s why I wrote a book called Reinventing Resilience. It’s really intended to explore how companies can overcome the effects of having a chronically stressed out workforce. So I started with a guiding question, which was, besides helping individuals work on their own stress, could companies change the underlying structure so that they don’t contribute to worker stress in the first place?

00:13:12:08 – 00:13:37:03

You know, I was imagining, you know, could we create an organization that actually lengthened life as opposed to created life shortening stress? So my thesis is that if companies work on building, organizing, organizational resilience, they will not only have more productive workers, but they will differentiate themselves among their competitors. So better workplace, better workers, better work, better results.

00:13:37:04 – 00:13:59:05

That’s the that’s the idea. Yeah. I’m fascinated by you know, you say we really have to do more than just help each individual manage their own stress, because I think that’s where people’s minds immediately go in this whole like you can’t yoga yourself out of it resonates so much with me and I think so much about for everyone when they think about this topic.

00:13:59:06 – 00:14:26:09

But let’s go back to the title of your book and this whole idea of reinventing resilience. What exactly is resilience and why does that have to be reinvented? Excellent. Well, let me have this for here. Here we go. So reinventing our resilience is generally understood as the ability to bounce back from adversity. And I think that’s you know, that is definitely true.

00:14:26:09 – 00:14:46:07

It is absolutely that. But what’s implied there is a focus on the ability to recover or return to the previous state. You know that point before you got knocked down. Everybody wants to get back there. But as Fleetwood Mac, for any of you old enough to remember Fleetwood Mac, it says in one of their classic rock songs, Yesterdays Gone.

00:14:46:07 – 00:15:15:11

So we we have to continuously look forward. So the focus on returning to the previous state isn’t necessarily bad, right? But it doesn’t contemplate growth. Excuse me. It doesn’t contemplate growth. So focusing too hard on recovery keeps us in what I call these gap closing cycles where all we try to do and all we focus on is getting back to where we were before we got knocked down.

00:15:15:13 – 00:15:45:01

And that’s really exhausting work. And the definition of resilience really doesn’t serve businesses that are trying to function in a very fluid and complex world like the one we just described a little a little while ago. In fact, there is no normal to bounce back to. So what are we doing? So what’s more applicable? What’s more applicable to business is really the other less discussed definition of resilience, which is the ability to adapt and thrive in the face of setbacks and challenges.

00:15:45:02 – 00:16:23:02

In that sense, resilience really involves growth and development. It’s time for organizations, in my opinion, to embrace the strengths based aspects of resilience if they want to grow as opposed to simply survive. So I applied the term resilience to organizations so that they could develop that ability to adapt and find new ways to move forward in the face of the of, you know, ever increasing challenging circumstances and the process of adapting and innovating can really involve growth and development in teams and organizations and help them explore new possibilities and find new ways of operating.

00:16:23:02 – 00:17:02:06

And that’s that’s my hope anyway. So what’s so I think this is the second half of the Gap closing cycle, which talks about how we can get past the gap closing cycles and really sort of leapfrog over that spot where we got knocked down and evolve and grow. So learn, let’s move forward to the next one. So, you know, I think what Paul just said about this whole idea of going back, you know, at Daggerwing, we talk a lot about doing change, right?

00:17:02:06 – 00:17:47:07

The first time. And doing change right is more important than ever because there is this huge business cost associated with embarking on a change effort that seeks to return an organization to its, quote unquote previous normal state. You know, in context of what I said a little bit earlier in this presentation, in terms of where we are in this moment in a three year global pandemic, I, I don’t think anybody would argue with the point that, you know, three years ago, any organization that approached this, you know, COVID and what was happening to our world and our ways of working, anyone that approached that with the mindset until we go, quote unquote, back to normal,

00:17:47:07 – 00:18:15:08

let’s just get through this. We’ll go back to normal, get back to the office, we’ll get back to what we were doing. Anyone that approached this that way was already ten steps backwards versus anyone that approached it from a we’re going to have to change really quickly now and we aren’t exactly sure what that means, but we’re going to try and move with people was already ten steps forward, you know, so organizations really need to change be to be fit for the future, not the past versa.

00:18:15:08 – 00:18:55:05

And that is different than the way we may think of resilience on an individual level. And companies need to be able to build capacity to weather any storm and really ensure that people in their organizations are at their best every day so that they can anticipate and respond to challenges as they come. Yeah, And and I think there’s a lot of folks who believe that it’s important to have that internal capability inside an organization to kind of be, you know, to drive change and be comfortable with change as opposed to, you know, making, you know, making it up, making a plan and then having it be stable for a while and then having it disrupted

00:18:55:05 – 00:19:17:08

and then redoing a new plan. I think it’s just because everything’s fluid and everything changes so much and there are so many unforeseen challenges coming our way, getting good at that flexibility and ability to change on a dime and frequently is the kind of the new skill of organizations. And I think in order to have that, when organizations really do need to be resilient.

00:19:17:08 – 00:19:48:10

So I personally believe that organizations that are resilient are stronger and can differentiate themselves in this increasingly challenging world and unpredictable world. So I wanted to just share with you the framework that I put together. I help I put this together to help organizations really think about building resilience at scale, not just on a 1 to 1 employee to employee kind of level, but really think about it as a holistic approach to an organization.

00:19:48:10 – 00:20:12:10

So here it is. This is the Reinventing Resilience framework from my book and based on my research into what makes organizations resilient. This is what I came up with. So one of my colleagues calls this the Resilience Hummingbird butterfly. But basically you can think about it as having wings. So the wings are the outer edges of the framework.

00:20:12:11 – 00:20:32:04

And those that’s the how, that’s the far left and right sides of the model that you see there and the body or the inner part is the why and the what. So the body, the feel part in the middle is is the heart and the wings enable it to fly. You want to take that metaphor to its extent.

00:20:32:04 – 00:20:59:14

They’re so resilient. Organizations at their core have two really important things in common, and I’ve placed them at the center of the framework. Number one is they have collective efficacy. What that means is shared belief. At the organizational level. They believe they can win even when things are hot. This is a cultural quality that can be cultivated by strong visionary leadership and a pattern of successful execution.

00:21:00:00 – 00:21:29:12

Brazilian organizations also have staunch realism or a keen, shared awareness of the realities of their situation. They understand the world clearly. They don’t sugarcoat things. They don’t catastrophize. But they recognize that the complexity of their industry and the forces acting on it. So they’re like skilled sailors. They know that the wind is there and it’s there to be used as opposed to complaining about the gusts that just doesn’t do any good for anyone.

00:21:29:12 – 00:22:10:02

Right? So the cultural quality of shared awareness can be cultivated by developing leaders. Emotional intelligence organizations that control their responses to challenges often have a clear eyed and contextualized view of reality. So when a resilient organization have both of those things, both awareness and belief, they generate the courage and confidence to grow through challenges, not simply survive. This is one of the most fascinating parts of your research for me, and I just want to like break it down to super human level and make sure that I’m articulating this right and everybody else understands.

00:22:10:02 – 00:22:37:11

Exactly. So basically what you’re saying is that when an organization has a strong sense of awareness and a strong sense of belief, they’re more likely to be resilient. Yeah, Yeah. Collectively, not just any one individual, but just as a whole. Right. So, you know, so courageous companies, for instance, are more likely to embrace change and uncertainty and take calculated risks in order to pursue, pursue new opportunities or find creative solutions to problems.

00:22:37:11 – 00:23:02:13

I mean, so this could involve things like, you know, trying out new business models, entering new markets or adopting new technologies, but in less resilient, less resilient companies. On the other hand, might be more risk averse, less willing to take on new challenges or maybe, you know, slow to respond or maybe scared to respond. This makes them more vulnerable to disruption and less able to adapt to changing circumstances.

00:23:03:00 – 00:23:26:02

And the other in terms of confidence, resilient companies have likely faced and overcome and learned from challenges in the past. This really is helpful for organizations to explore this and understand what they’ve been through in order to build confidence and to a sense of self-efficacy. This belief that they can do things as well as the willingness to take on new challenges.

00:23:26:03 – 00:24:00:10

So on the other hand, you know, conversely, companies that are less resilient may be more prone to doubt and uncertainty, which does undermine their confidence. Yeah, that’s extremely, extremely interesting. So, you know, how might companies build resilience so they have courage and confidence to go through challenges? Well, what does that look like? Yeah, well, I think maybe we can take a little tour around the around the model and go, Oh, thanks.

00:24:00:12 – 00:24:31:10

So, I mean, I think just the first and we’ll go quadrant by quadrant here. So discovering and utilizing untapped or underutilized resources is a way for companies to build resilience. So finding new sources of value or efficiency, a company can increase its competitiveness and adaptability and really be better equipped to weather the challenge, whether challenges and setbacks. So let’s take a look at how that might happen.

00:24:31:12 – 00:24:58:09

There we go. So what do we mean by we resources? So there are many different types of resources that a company can tap into, and I bet there are more. And if you have more in your mind that you want to chime in with, please do. But these include things like human resources, right? So utilizing the skills and expertise of employees, oftentimes people have way more skills in and knowledge and expertise and experience than what they’re using in their current role.

00:24:58:11 – 00:25:26:00

Tapping into that can really help increase capacity to adapt and find creative solutions to problems just by asking and knowing your people really well. Excuse me. Financial resources to effective management of financial resources are really great way to you know, be prudent and identify new sources of funding or investment, making sure that a company is really equipped to weather the economic downturn.

00:25:26:01 – 00:25:58:14

You know, planning for the future, having a you know, a reserve for the rainy days and things like that are also responsible and important things to do to maintain an organization’s resilience. Similarly, physical resources, you know, physical resources like its assets and infrastructure, whether it’s equipment, you know, buildings, factories, that kind of thing, real estate, they’re more likely to be more efficient and able to adapt to change when those physical assets are most effectively used.

00:25:58:14 – 00:26:23:05

You know, we’re going through this right now with organizations deciding whether to keep their office space or not, you know, whether they’re in major cities or, you know, across the across the country. So these are big decisions that will ultimately impact organizations resilience and have to be kind of married up to the policy decisions that organizations have to make with respect to work from home or hybrid, that kind of thing.

00:26:23:06 – 00:26:48:02

And then finally, intellectual property. So those are resources, as are those resources are also really important because they have they have timelines associated with them. They’re not always evergreen, you know, patents, trademarks, copyrights, all that kind of stuff is are things that constantly need to be maintained and cultivated and leveraged for competitive advantage. And those that do are are more resilient.

00:26:48:04 – 00:27:17:06

Yeah, absolutely. I’m wondering, you know, you mentioned earlier, but I wonder if our audience of any more examples of resources come to mind if they do include them in your chart, we can, you know, revisit that. But there are all kinds of different resources that can contribute to this. Absolutely. And by the way, I’ll invite folks if they want to queue up questions for the end, we’ll take we’re going to take our questions at the end.

00:27:17:06 – 00:27:47:11

So feel free to in the Q&A box, just, you know, ask your questions. Okay. So the next part of the model we’ll talk about is identifying and addressing blockers. So companies that have a strong ability to identify and address organizational blockers are likely to be more resilient. So what are organizational blockers? Those are any factors that prevent a company from achieving its goals or operating effective effectively could be a lot of things.

00:27:47:11 – 00:28:21:07

They’re like inefficient processes, outdated technology, toxic culture, a merger, you name it. There are lots of items that fall into this particular category, things that grind the organization to a halt, take it off task, you know, avert its focus, things like that. So when organizations are successful in identifying and addressing them, a company can really start removing some of the obstacles to its success and begin improving its ability to adapt and find solutions to challenges.

00:28:21:09 – 00:28:46:05

You know, not all blockers can be avoided. Some of them are surprises. But, you know, the self-imposed ones are the ones that we think if organizations develop a strong awareness of them, they can move them out of the way and proceed more quickly to becoming stronger for the future. So I think, you know, doing this really does help the company become more resilient and better able to navigate those inevitable setbacks.

00:28:46:07 – 00:29:13:04

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, one of the things we’re great at growing is really understanding those blockers related to a complex, messy human side of change. I think what’s really important to note, particularly with this topic, is, you know, more often than not it’s the people challenges. You mentioned culture or ways of working or things that really are kind of the people.

00:29:13:04 – 00:29:35:12

It’s those people challenge the challenges that can keep an organization stuck. Absolutely. Let’s talk a little bit about some of the things where we’re both quick on the draw with the slides. It’s all great. Yeah, no problem. No, it’s great. So let’s talk a little bit about how to identify some of those blockers and how to address them.

00:29:35:12 – 00:30:02:07

So, one, there are are many more ways than just appear on this slide. And here are a couple that I’ll share so regularly soliciting feedback from employees. We’ll give you a good information, right? So identifying and addressing any issues and concerns that people have that may be impacting operations is really important to know. And, you know, doing this in the most human way possible is also a good strategy, too.

00:30:02:08 – 00:30:27:07

You know, we all you know, many companies do surveys and those are really great. But there’s also rich data and really good insights from small group conversations or individual one on one conversations that really can yield some transparent and honest feedback that the organization can really use to get stronger. And I would encourage all of you to do as much of that as you can to really listen and hear what people are saying.

00:30:27:09 – 00:30:52:12

Also, conducting reviews and assessments are also really is a really good way to sort of bring to the surface some of the organizational blockers that are in your organization. So reviewing those processes, assessing the operations and procedures, you can really find some of the inefficiencies or bottlenecks that prevent your organization from achieving what it’s setting out to do.

00:30:52:13 – 00:31:21:03

So you may you may have heard the phrase no plan survives first contact with implementation, but keeping your fingers on the pulse of how new processes and procedures are working and being adaptable and changing them when when they don’t work is a really key characteristic of resilient companies. So being thoughtful, being mindful, trying to execute as well as you can, but also having a space in your mind to change the things that don’t work when you when you see them.

00:31:21:04 – 00:31:46:13

In reality, it is a really strong characteristic of any organization. Okay, let’s do real quick. Implementing continuous improvement initiatives is a great way to identify blockers, so we want to cultivate a continuous improvement mindset by a limit in which can eliminate waste and inefficiencies in its operations. And I think it’s more than just like a Six Sigma kind of process.

00:31:46:14 – 00:32:12:06

I think it’s really about building the capacity to constantly sense and respond to challenges and giving people the permission to call them out when they see them. This critical capability is important, and I think it’s more important sometimes than, you know, some of our planning initiatives and things like that. So giving people that opportunity and freedom and flexibility and safety to call out things is important.

00:32:12:08 – 00:32:49:14

And then lastly, encouraging open communications and collaboration, right? So this is a good way to address conflicts or misunderstandings and keep things transparent in an organization, you know, transparency is obviously critical. And what we know and what we’ve learned in dealing with clients, a staggering group is that employees really want to know why things are happening. You know, they when they do, they tend to get on board faster and put more energy into their change effort.

00:32:50:01 – 00:33:21:07

I’m going to go back one here to this one. There we go. Okay. So understanding and accepting the situation is the third part of our model that will discuss a little bit today. So companies that are able to understand and accept the reality of the situation are likely to be more resilient. And this is because they’re better able to assess what’s going on accurately and make it other cognitive biases.

00:33:21:09 – 00:33:44:08

So, for example, if a company is facing a downturn in the market or significant change in its industry, it’s important for it to understand the full extent of the situation and all of the implications to its operations. So by accepting that reality, a company can more effectively develop a response and take appropriate action. So this is the anti wishful thinking part of the model.

00:33:44:10 – 00:34:08:06

Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s that you really hit the nail with this one. It’s so important to get a real honest and accurate understanding of the landscape. I think often with our clients and Paul, you would agree we can play that role by providing an objective lens to help a client understand and see the reality in their workplace situation or culture.

00:34:08:07 – 00:34:40:09

And for example, sometimes it’s really hard to speak like that unvarnished truth. But in the end we owe it to our clients to be straightforward so they can change in a way that will last. Absolutely. So let’s talk a little bit about some ways to do that, to think about the situation now. I’ll go ahead in advance here to this one.

00:34:40:10 – 00:35:17:08

I’m not sure why the slides not showing up. Does anybody know why it’s the one we’re looking for? Yeah, it looks like it’s jumping over it. There we go. Okay, great. So understanding and accepting the situation really is involves creating a psychologically safe workplace and workplace environment by doing these things right? So obviously encouraging open communication, so creating that culture where people can feel safe and free to talk with each other and with leaders can really help build trust and foster a sense of belonging among employees.

00:35:17:09 – 00:35:42:05

You know, this could be, you know, promoting honest feedback, providing channels for employees to share ideas and concerns and encouraging employees to speak up when they have concerns and then also acknowledging when they do supporting employee wellbeing. Of course, there’s been a lot of this lately, but supporting the wellbeing of employees does help create a psychologically safe workplace.

00:35:42:06 – 00:36:14:05

And I’m a little worried personally that companies may be backing away from those commitments they’ve made over the last couple of years. But so offering resources such as wellness programs, mental health benefits and supportive policies are just some of the ways to support employee wellbeing, promoting work life balance in whatever way that makes sense for the organization. So talking about an experiment with ways for employees to have a healthy work life balance can help reduce stress and improve wellbeing overall.

00:36:14:06 – 00:36:38:10

This might involve flexible work arrangements and other things like encouraging employees to take breaks, supporting activities outside of work, and various other things that many of us are doing or try to encourage as much as we can. And then of course fostering a sense of inclusion and wellbeing and belonging. So this does help make employees feel valued and supported.

00:36:38:10 – 00:37:03:02

So things like promoting diversity and inclusivity, recognizing and celebrating the differences, whether they’re cultural or other differences, providing opportunities for employees to build connections with their colleagues. All of these things, all of these things help people feel like they belong to something a little bit bigger than themselves and that they can feel more connected to and give their energy to.

00:37:03:04 – 00:37:29:09

And then lastly, a positive work culture, right? So a positive work culture can really help create a supportive and psychologically safe environment in many ways. So things that would fall into that category could be promoting a positive and respectful work environment. The leaders modeling that behavior, recognizing and rewarding employees for their contributions and providing lots of growth opportunities and development opportunities for employees.

00:37:29:09 – 00:38:05:06

All of these things do create a great, psychologically safe workplace environment. And then lastly, let’s talk a little bit about the fourth part of the model, which is discovering possibilities. So companies that have a strong ability to discover practical possibilities for the way forward are likely to be more resilient. And this is because they’re better able to identify and pursue new opportunities and find creative solutions to challenges rather than becoming stuck or overwhelmed by obstacles.

00:38:05:07 – 00:38:31:02

They also tend to quickly refine their set of possibilities to practical solutions, even if they are risky and unconventional. They may, you know, like most of us, wish for a rosy path forward, but they often choose the best way forward, even if that means a steep uphill climb. And so here are a couple of ways to do that.

00:38:31:03 – 00:39:02:07

So discovering practical possibilities can involve a number of things. So being open to new ideas and approaches and this is at the collective level. So cultivating a culture where people are open to new ideas and new approaches and making it okay to throw out suggestions is really an important cultural element to foster in your organization. By being open to new ideas and approaches, you’re really just more likely to discover new possibilities and find creative solutions.

00:39:02:08 – 00:39:31:01

And I think, you know, brainstorming is great, but brainstorming in a very refined and disciplined way so that the ideas that come out are practical is really important. Encouraging innovation and experimentation. So finding new ways of doing things is always top of the list in terms of leaders that want to leaders that are seeking to come up with new solutions or create new products or other opportunities for the organization.

00:39:31:01 – 00:39:56:10

So creating a culture and cultivating a culture of innovation and experimentation and making it safe really does enable organizations to find their path and find their new possibilities. And then, you know, thorough analysis and planning, of course, is really important. I mean, we we love to think that things are totally fluid. And I was talking earlier about how, you know, we can’t predict anything, so why plan anything?

00:39:56:10 – 00:40:27:11

Right. So but you bet you do. I mean, you do have to have the business discipline to do the analysis and do thorough planning so that you can identify those opportunities and act on them and create a roadmap for pursuing what you want to do. And then finally, collaboration, right? So understanding the environment and the industry that you’re in, finding other companies that can support and help you, organizations or experts or others by accessing new ideas and thinking in new and different ways.

00:40:27:13 – 00:41:13:14

This really does help bring in new insights and new thinking to discover new possibilities rather than staying in your own silo like. So to summarize our model here, organizations can build courage and confidence to grow through challenges by accessing resources, identifying and addressing blockers, understanding, accepting the situation, discovering new practical acts. There’s so much great information. I think we’ve talked through a lot of different things that already have my mind turning and always do.

00:41:13:14 – 00:41:38:08

Paul When you when you talk about this, you know, I think one thing that’s really kind of resonated through resonated with me is this whole idea that, you know, if you’re going to remember one thing, it’s remember that doing change, right, is a process doesn’t have to happen overnight. We certainly don’t have a magic wand to become a resilient organization.

00:41:38:08 – 00:42:06:10

I think the really good news is that we are already resilient. You know, so so many organizations have have aspects of this. And certainly it’s certainly individually, particularly over the last few years, we’ve exhibited resilience. And, you know, I think we have to constantly work on strengthening resilience to keep our companies competitive and our people thriving. I think now more importantly than ever.

00:42:06:12 – 00:42:35:01

So for everyone listening, if you have change plans that include building organizational resilience, we’d certainly love to speak with you. We’d love to thank the Conference Board for hosting us today. And thanks to all of you for listening. And we’ve built in some time for questions. So feel free to to leverage the Q&A a portion of the webcast for us to answer some of those questions you may have.

00:42:35:02 – 00:43:13:06

Well, while Lauren and Paul, we do have some questions, so I don’t know which one of you want to take this, but what’s the first step to get started? Yeah, I love that question because, you know, it makes me put on my consultant hat and say it depends which I love as myself, but I think so I’m That question reminds me of a friend of mine who I, I really respect who who wrote a book about organizational change and habit formation and things like that.

00:43:13:06 – 00:43:52:03

And her the idea was start by starting. So there’s a lot of really good evidence to say that building momentum in any way that you can is really the best way to start creating a resilient organization, right? So because things are so fluid and changes are inevitable anyway, and you know, there’s no such thing as a linear path anymore, I think for any change effort, expect it to be a little, you know, convoluted and, and start by starting like building the will, building the organizational momentum is important, you know, start with the conversation.

00:43:52:03 – 00:44:29:10

Start by getting some people together, cultivate those internal change agents, you know, find people who are who also recognize that change is necessary and start and start that way. And I’ve another question. Do you find that your model works best if you have a specific problem or culture that you want to fix or change? Yeah, I think, well, the I’m stuck on the fix or change part because I think that’s that’s, you know, I don’t I don’t look at organizations as problems to be solved or broken things that need to be fixed.

00:44:29:10 – 00:44:56:02

I think of them as sort of on an evolutionary continuum. And so my idea of reinventing resilience is really to help organizations strengthen the resilience that they already have because the changes that are coming are likely to be more frequent and possibly a little stronger. So I think any organization that has lasted amount of time already has some resilience built in.

00:44:56:03 – 00:45:34:12

What I’m hoping organizations do is recognize some of the aspects of the of the framework and intentionally build their resilience even more so that when things when things happen unexpectedly or even expectedly, they they can come out the other end of those challenges stronger and better off as a result. Yeah, absolutely. One thing you know that I think we’ve seen a lot with clients is, you know, every organization looks a little bit different in how heavily they weigh on some of the things in some of the things you see on the screen.

00:45:34:12 – 00:46:00:03

For instance, some organizations may already have some courage, whereas some have identified blockers that don’t exactly know what to do with them. So, you know, organization sort of is weighed perfectly in exactly what they need and in what areas they need. It. So, you know, I think those are all factors that would come into play in this particular situation.

00:46:00:04 – 00:46:41:02

Right. And we have several other questions on the next one is how do you build these capabilities not just at the leadership level, but down to the frontline employee level? Yeah, I, I can give that a go learn. Yeah. I think there’s there’s a lot of different methodologies and approaches to change. But one thing we know for sure that’s consistent among all aspects of change is that the the leaders or those with a lot of influence need to be on board with whatever change that’s happening or else the chances of it succeeding drop off.

00:46:41:03 – 00:47:10:01

So I think having an understanding and awareness of the business case for change so that leaders can get behind it and feel comfortable with it, and that it’s not just sort of a flavor of the month is pretty important. Then really, it’s all about flawless execution and ensuring that everybody is on board and is transparent communication about the why, so that everybody feels like they’re part of part of the effort to improve and improve the organization.

00:47:10:01 – 00:47:34:05

Right. So everybody wants to be you know, I think I don’t you know, nobody comes to work every day, I think, actively trying to, you know, hurt the organization. Now everybody wants to make a contribution. And I think leaders can model that behavior and support it with great communications and encourage people to take take a little bit of a a risk, a chance of, you know, changing their behavior a little bit, seeing that it’s okay and then building momentum from there.

00:47:34:07 – 00:48:02:12

Okay, great. I think we have another question. This popped in. What can an organization do when employees are past stress and into failure and or burnout? That is, what can an organization do with employees who have lost their bounce back and their resilience? Good question. Well, I mean, everybody’s there, right? A lot of we’re there, as Lauren was talking about earlier.

00:48:02:14 – 00:48:29:02

Yeah, I think my Lauren, I would love your perspective on this, too, but my sense is that honesty is the best policy in this case. Right. So acknowledging that reality, I think that’s one of the skills of resilient organizations is acknowledging the reality of the situation and calling it for what it is and not trying to kind of sugarcoat it or or I saw something about well-being washing.

00:48:29:02 – 00:48:56:12

Now it’s another is a term, right. So just like it’s like we’re going to we’re going to kind of just give you headspace or calm app subscription and call it good. That’s just not quite enough. I think organizations need to really acknowledge that people are, you know, potentially struggling, offer great resources and so solutions and give people opportunities to adapt so that they can stay strong and healthy and in the in the work situation.

00:48:56:12 – 00:49:24:14

But one thing we know for sure is the work isn’t going to stop. You know, I think we have to acknowledge that and be honest about that and and give people opportunities to to, you know, take care of themselves. I don’t know. Lauren, what do you think? Yeah, I totally agree. You know, I think that I think there’s this fear that if we that if a company acknowledges this, they’re giving employees permission to not work as hard.

00:49:25:00 – 00:49:50:09

And I think that’s completely false. So I think it to Paul’s point being, honest about the fact that this is real. I mean, the fact of the matter is we’re talking about companies, but people run companies. If a leader of a company says, I got it, I’m there, too. So we’ve got to figure out a way to balance moving forward with meeting people where they are.

00:49:50:12 – 00:50:18:01

I think it goes it goes a really long way. I also, you know, I, I think the idea of quote unquote, bouncing back is just it. I don’t think people are necessarily able to do that. It’s a slow process. And I think it starts with that acknowledgment and honesty. And yeah, right. Have another question. What if I work for a small organization with a limited budget?

00:50:18:04 – 00:50:50:01

How do I do this myself? That’s a great question. Hopefully you won’t have to do it all by yourself. Yeah, I think the you know, I think the key is bringing bringing evidence to a conversation, a safe, conversational space, and and and opening up that dialog and letting you know, giving giving your all like I work with, you know, worked with before, joined Daggerwing, a small publishing organization.

00:50:50:01 – 00:51:18:11

It was like eight or eight people in the company and they were having burnout issues too. And, you know, part of it is really just sort of like calling it out, you know, and really acknowledging the reality of the situation and saying, we we all are experiencing this. We don’t like it. We want to do something different. How can we discuss the the the the apparent challenge of the work is is still there and we have to do all that stuff.

00:51:18:11 – 00:51:40:14

And we also have to do it in a way that doesn’t grind us down to the bone. So we have to look at look at the ways of working to help us, you know, not just get the job done, but do it in a way that doesn’t hurt us. Yeah, that’s I also yeah, I also really like the idea of breaking it down to the what, why and how.

00:51:41:01 – 00:52:04:06

You know, if you are in a really small organization, break it down to, you know, what exactly is it that you’re trying to do, Why are you trying to do it? And then the how and kind of breaking it down to that element, elementary level level will give you kind of the foundation for figuring out exactly what kind of the two and ideals state would look like and how to get there.

00:52:04:07 – 00:52:27:04

Yeah, Yeah. And that’s I would add, if you don’t mind, Regina, I just want to mention, which is that, you know, as we talked about early on in this conversation about change being a process, and I think we all want, you know, when when we’re feeling really burned out and stressed and uncomfortable at work, we want all the change now because we want the pain to go away.

00:52:27:04 – 00:52:50:07

We want that suffering to end. But I think the the real the reality is that it doesn’t happen overnight. We can’t just eat the apple in one bite. We have to we have to, like, resolve ourselves to incremental positive change and growth over over some period of time. That’s not a great answer for for people who really feel burnt out and really are struggling.

00:52:50:08 – 00:53:09:10

But that’s the truth and that’s the hard that’s the hard reality that we all have to kind of deal with. Yeah. And I, you know, I think is, you know, people, you know, probably leave the presentations today or anyone who’s kind of confronting this. We think about there’s so much change going on. Yeah. So how do you know how to define the problem?

00:53:09:10 – 00:53:45:00

Because that seems like the starting point. And so I think if we could, you know, leave our attendees with a sense of how do you know how to define the problem? Yeah, I think the defining the problem comes with acknowledge. I mean, the first thing you do is to acknowledge that there is something wrong, even if you don’t know exactly what it is right now, the discomfort that you’re feeling or whatever that’s going on, that’s not exactly right according to what you think should be right.

00:53:45:01 – 00:54:17:13

And then and then getting getting people together to talk about what what again, what’s the from to like where are you now and where do you want to get to, as Lauren was saying before? And then what you’ll probably discover is that there’s lots of problems, you know, and I think you have to pick one and just out of compassion for yourselves to work on together and just put some points on the board, score some wins and then wrecking and build a little strength that way and then go on to the next problem.

00:54:17:14 – 00:54:48:13

So that’s, that’s what I that’s why I was like is start by starting. Yeah absolutely. Well I think that certainly is a good way to you know, to close out and to, you know, inspire our attendees to to tackle this. So the book is Reinventing Resilience by Paul Tyler. So I want to thank you guys for your presentations today.

00:54:48:14 – 00:55:25:07

Yeah, so that was great. If you enjoyed today’s program, please visit the conference conference hyphen Board confrontation Board that August webcast for a full roster of upcoming webcasts amid the volatile business, business environment and predictions of a recession, the Conference Board is providing you with daily, timely and relevant content that will guide you through the economic storm. These trusted insights are being gathered on our website and are available to help your company master the challenges ahead.

00:55:25:08 – 00:55:57:09

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00:56:31:05 – 00:57:35:07

The podcast is hosted by our CEO Steve Ottman, and the content is aimed at CEOs and their direct reports. Listen and subscribe to this new podcast channel by going to our website or wherever you find your podcasts. Thank you again, Paul and Lauren, and thanks to all of you for joining. Have a great day. Thank you.

About the presenters

Paul is the Founder & CEO of High Peaks Group and the author of Reinventing Resilience. He has extensive experience working with executive teams to identify and implement strategic change initiatives. Paul began his career mobilizing change at scale in the public education sector and has held leadership positions in non-profit, government, and private-sector organizations. He enjoys learning to play guitar, long-distance cycling, and rescuing dogs (41 so far). He has a wife and son who love travel experiences as much as he does.
Loren Heller is a Principal at Daggerwing Group where she helps clients create and execute employee engagement and communication strategies that help businesses achieve success by engaging their greatest asset – their people. Loren has a passion for customer service and is dedicated to making her clients’ needs her primary focus. Her background in communications and employee engagement helps bridge gaps between leaders and employees and helps her clients solve their most complex change and communication challenges. When she’s not at work, Loren can be found baking her famous chocolate chunk cookies and spending time with friends and family.