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The Resilience Builder

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The Energizer:

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

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  • Eileen McDargh

Promote Resilience With Adaptability Skills


Security rests in adaptability. Our current uncertain times can either freeze us from action, or create a space where we strengthen our ability to adapt. Remember, survival is based on "requisite variety".

That's a fancy biological term that basically means the organism that has the greatest number of responses to a situation has the greater chance of surviving. Watts Wacker, a noted futurist, offers things we can do to gain more options for ourselves:

  • Learn to be a better listener. You don't learn when you are talking.

  • Read a trade magazine from a different industry.

  • Find two things in every issue that relate to your business.

  • Let your kids tutor you in a subject they know more about than you do.

  • Volunteer, and see the world through a different window.

  • Read what has stood the test of time—great books help reframe your thinking

While I am not a noted futurist, I can add actions to provide you with more options:

  • Examine your “current” situation from the eyes of someone else. It doesn’t have to be someone you know but rather someone you admire. How would Mother Teresa respond? How about Coach Lou Holtz? Maybe an author?

  • In 30 words or less, state what is going on and ask a trusted colleague for their response. You can only respond to them by asking clarifying questions. You are not to argue. Your role is to listen and say, “thank you.”

  • In deciding a response, what is the worst thing that can happen? The best thing? Now decide what action to take. Charles Darwin had it right when he said, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”

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