Bad experiences will happen. Poor reviews, dissatisfied customers, and broken processes are just a few of the problems you can expect to happen in your organization. Although trouble is inevitable, disaster isn’t.
Our response to adversity dictates the damage. Leaders and organizations will only grow and flourish if they are resilient and adapt through inevitable pitfalls.
Resilience is the ability to recover from adversity, trauma, and general setbacks. Resilient organizations thrive amidst bad experiences and use negative outcomes to generate positive change.
Being resilient, however, is not intuitive nor innate. Resilience is gained through experience but the learning curve can be lessened with just a few slight changes.
Comfort in Discomfort
Change is uncomfortable and often difficult to manage. Resilient leaders adapt and flex to deal with change. In order to be flexible and able to adapt, you must first recognize your comfort zone and do things to move away from it.
Often, we don’t understand our own comfort zones. We move day-to-day with the same rituals going with the ebb and flow wherever it takes us. When something does happen that jars that rhythm, we meet it with fight or flight…freeze or flee actions. These actions can often lead to worse outcomes than the situation that caused it. We freeze or make hasty, irrational decisions without thinking it through.
This is automatic. Our brains are literally wired to react like that. But, it doesn’t have to be this way.
One way you can practice resiliency is to practice being uncomfortable. I’m not saying you need to take ice baths or do ultra-marathons but you can do or learn something that stands outside your comfort zone.
As a leader, you’re going to be exposed to situations, events, and people that make you uncomfortable. If you place yourself outside comfort zones before you are required to do so, you’ll be in a much better place to deal with stress when it eventually comes.
Fix the Plumbing
The thing you decide that puts you out of your comfort zone may have nothing to do with work, at all. One example might be tackling a small project at your house you would never consider doing like plumbing. You’ve got a leak but rather than finding a local plumber, YouTube it and attempt the repair yourself.
I’ve found that learning something outside my training and experience forces me to expose my own ignorance but also helps me understand how I can learn something.
If your weakness is connecting with people, find ways to connect with people. Confronting unhappy customers is both an art and skill. You must have people skills and you’ll not get those skills staying cooped up in an office or surrounded by the same people.
Volunteer. There are many organizations and churches desperate for volunteers of all stripes. Talk to people…everyone. Get to know people and connect in meaningful ways. This practice will pay off in dividends when you have personnel problems.
If you want a proven script and question set to use with every interaction, you need to reach out to a Growability Coach.
Maintain their composure and avoid destructive behavior. Any stress or anxiety experienced by the leader isn’t spread through the ranks. Understands bad experiences and only dwells long enough to squeeze out the lesson. Emotional overload reservoir.
Respect Murphy’s Law
Murphy’s Law dictates that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. One practice that may ward off Murphy’s impact is capping your losses through planning. No plan is a plan to fail. Analyze gaps and weaknesses in your organization or processes.
Audit your organization from time-to-time. Look at the processes in place and see what happens when stress is applied. You can have someone act like a dissatisfied customer and see how your team handles the situation. Call your organization and audit the experience. Did the call flow well? Did they handle your requests like you expected?
Create flow charts and processes for negative experience. Anticipate the bad and plan around it. This added training exposes gaps and gives your team more confidence when bad things do happen.
If you want to know how to audit your organization or want a third-party analysis of your organization, make sure to contact a Growability Coach.
Post Traumatic Growth
Negative experiences can stimulate positive change. Organizations and leaders have an opportunity explore opportunities, recognize personal strengths, and improve relationships after a bad outcome.
This type of growth that occurs after trauma is known as PTG (post traumatic growth). This phenomenon is gaining in research popularity but its existence has been long established. When the smoke clears and you’ve surveyed the damage, you’re able to rebuild or repair. What emerges should be stronger than it was previously. This is the foundation of PTG.
The elements of post traumatic growth include knowledge and emotional regulation.
Know Who You Are
Knowledge includes knowing who you are as an organization. You can have a great mission, vision, and value statement but when the going gets tough, you’ll see it in action. Your organization and team can use bad experiences to innovate in new, emerging circumstances. You also get the opportunity to grow and learn as a team. This is often termed “growing pains.”
It may be painful but it doesn’t have to be debilitating.
Stop the Train
Stop the train of a bad experience, poor outcomes, or devastating loss begins with recognizing negative emotions. When you’re going through valleys, it’s hard to see the other side. You need to change your perspective.
Recall your past successes and conjure best-case scenarios rather than obsessing over the fleeting anxiety, anger, or guilt. If you allow these emotions to make decisions, they can lead to consequences further reaching than the occasion that caused it in the first place.
Resiliency is a Process
Resilient organizations don’t just bounce back; they improve. In the midst of a devastation, they rebuild and reform better than before. Their teams are stronger, communication is streamlined, and processes are improved.
This takes time and best practices. If you want to learn what it takes to be a resilient organization, reach out to a Growability Coach so they can provide you the resources you need.