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The Energizer Blog

  • Writer's pictureEileen McDargh

Resiliency And Innovation Go Hand In Hand

A cornerstone of resiliency is adaptability: the skill of finding multiple solutions to an event, challenge, or opportunity.  The emphasis is on the word “multiple”. The more options one can create, the greater is one’s resiliency quotient. However, innovative thinking requires a different mindset than analytical thinking.  The latter strives for one right answer. Innovative thinking seeks many answers. To hone innovative thinking, practice asking many questions: What if?  Why not? Why? Who says so? How about? Where could we? Equally important is to ask questions of people who might hold parts of the questions and parts of the answers. Likewise, amazing results can come if questions are asked of people who—at first glance—might be unrelated to the issue. Case in point: A power company in the Pacific Northwest was constantly plagued by broken power lines caused by heavy snow. Unfortunately, trying to get crews into the area was difficult and dangerous. One engineer commented, in jest, “Too bad we can’t just blow the snow away.”  An administrative aide overheard the engineer and said, “When I was a nurse in a  Vietnam M.A.S.H. unit,  helicopters bearing the wounded would come in and the wash of the blades blew sand everywhere. Why not use a helicopter?”  Duh!  Why not? Innovative thinking also accepts the need for trial and error, risk and failure. It’s all part of the process.  Starbuck’s CEO Howard Schultz tried selling a concocted carbonated coffee drink. It flopped. But it hasn’t made Schultz stop pushing the innovation edges. The latest reports are that he is looking for products related to health and wellness as well as ways to create a mobile app that will allow a customer to be instantly recognized when he or she enters the shop! Innovation requires an acceptance that change is a fact of life. What is a great solution today might not work tomorrow. On a personal level, how one responds to an event in their twenties might be radically different in one’s fifties.  Priorities shift, experiences have multiplied, and with age comes the potential for a pasture of possibilities. Innovation and resiliency can stay the course if, built into each event, challenge, or opportunity is a willingness to celebrate small successes and failures. When rescue dogs and their handlers search for victims of tragedies like Hurricane Sandy, the handlers know their dogs become discouraged if they can’t find someone. The handlers take turns gently covering one of the trainers and then release the dogs to go “find” the person. The dogs become re-invigorated with their success.  If dogs need this encouragement, how much more do humans? Now, go innovate and celebrate your resilient spirit! © The Resiliency Group.  Publication rights granted to all venues so long as article and by-line are reprinted intact and all links are made live. Since 1980, professional speaker and Hall of Fame member Eileen McDargh has helped Fortune 100 companies as well as individuals create connections that count and conversations that matter. Her latest book is Gifts from the Mountain-Simple Truths for Life's Complexities. Her other books include Talk Ain't Cheap…It's Priceless and Work for a Living and Still Be Free to Live, one of the first books to address the notion of balance and authentic work.  Find out more about this compelling and effective professional speaker and join her free newsletter by visiting

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