How do leaders create organisations that will emerge better than before the GFC? Leaders need to look beyond the tough times for opportunities in the current climate, keep an unwavering eye on their strategic objectives and use their values in decision making. Leaders who succeed after experiencing adversity all have a trait in common - resilience.
Cris Popp, program director, Mt Eliza Executive Education, part of Melbourne Business School said, Resilient leaders are able to look for the silver lining in any situation, which enables them to view the current economic crisis not as an impediment to growth but rather as an opportunity for their organisations.
It can be hard when you're in the thick of it but we need to remember that adversity makes us great. Would Abraham Lincoln or Nelson Mandela be the people they were without facing and overcoming adversity? Would Qantas have spun off Jetstar and re-educated consumers on the value they provide if it hadn't been for the advent of Virgin? Would IBM be the multinational it is now if it hadn't nearly succumbed to the competition a few times?, he added.
Learning how to recover and build personal and professional resilience pays dividends for the long term ? it's not about surviving but learning and adapting in a world of constant change.
How do leaders become resilient? Resilient people demonstrate six competencies* which play out as adversity unfolds:
Circumstances - Accept what's not working before it's possible to craft a solution.
Direction - Set a direction by moving towards a goal (resilient) instead of moving away from discomfort (avoidance).
Community - Make decisions for the greater good and rely on help when required.
Friends & Strangers - Be open to external influences and turn towards others in stressful times.
Self - See yourself as bigger than the problem, use a strong sense of values and be optimistic about the future.
Adversity - Look for the opportunity in every adverse event, rebound and come back better than before.
* Resilience CompassTM
Resilient leaders display a fundamentally different outlook.
They move from trying to overcome change to accepting the inevitability of turmoil and welcoming the opportunities that always accompany change for both their teams and organisations. Learning about and adopting this outlook will help leaders move from resignation to resilience, said Popp.