Please see below selected recent resilience-related change.
- At a population level, researchers — mainly based at hospitals and universities in Canada — didn’t find that the pandemic had a negative impact on our mental health. With some exceptions and caveats, the world appears to have come through the first global pandemic in 100 years displaying “a high level of resilience,” they wrote in a paper published in the British Medical Journal.
- Further reading:
- Resilience is our ability to experience a wide range of emotions and still feel like ourselves. Resilience helps us bounce back from the stress, failure, mistakes, and adversity in our lives. Resilience allows for the emergence of happiness. Developing resilience doesn’t mean we become immune to stress or struggle - these are unavoidable facts of life - but our resilience determines how we relate to those difficult moments as well as how we experience them. People who are resilient are better able to cope when stressful moments arise.
- The war in Ukraine, rising inflation, and severe weather events, all happening on top of the ongoing pandemic and associated challenges, such as the semiconductor shortage, made it plain that disruption is no longer a one-off event. Extreme volatility is the new reality worldwide. However, most companies are not prepared. A BCG and APQC survey found that only 10% had developed the full range of resilience capabilities needed to thrive, i.e. be able to adequately anticipate and recover from a crisis in the short term and be resilient over the middle/long terms.
- Further reading:
- Building resilience in society - GZERO
- Lessons in Resilience from Companies That Were Down but Never Out - BCG
- Maintaining Workplace Resilience When Change Happens Fast - Psychology Today
- Three keys to a resilient postpandemic recovery - McKinsey
- Transform for Resilience: An Imperative for Good Times Too - BCG
- Global organisations with partial funding and in-kind contributions from the insurance sector and partner institutions launched a Global Resilience Index Initiative (GRII) at COP26. GRII will provide a globally consistent model for the assessment of resilience across all sectors and geographies. The GRII will be using cross-sector risk modelling experience, including public-private partnerships between governments, academia, insurance and engineering.
- Resilience doesn’t come naturally to many, but it can be taught. In an article for the Harvard Business Review, the father of positive psychology Martin E.P. Seligman described his resilience training program based on 30 years of research. The program, piloted on more than a million U.S. Army soldiers in 2011, sought to “reduce the number of those who struggle [after a traumatic event] and increase the number of those who grow.” Seligman’s military program became the foundation for many other resilience training programs in the workplace and beyond and is based on five key components.
- During the COVID-19 crisis, resilience rose to the top of many organisations' strategic agenda, and many leaders also indicated a desire to extract lessons to increase preparedness for future crises. BCG research indicated that resilience, although less emphasised in stable periods, creates significant value and does so well beyond times of crisis. Nearly two-thirds of long-run outperformers do better than peers in response to shocks.
- New Zealand would be the best place to take shelter in the event of global societal collapse, according to a study published in the journal Sustainability which rated nations on their resilience against shocks such as a global financial crisis or climate emergency.
- All companies faced extreme disruptions from COVID-19, but a subset faced an even bigger challenge: they had been struggling before the pandemic and were in the middle of a transformation to improve performance. For many of these organisations, the pandemic could have been the death blow, yet BCG identified some that managed not only to survive but to thrive. These companies didn’t scrap their transformation plans when COVID hit but rather adjusted them. They redoubled their efforts and saw the pandemic as an opportunity to accelerate the transformation, building digital capabilities and introducing new ways of working.
- The unpredictable supply and demand shocks brought on by the pandemic led to numerous supply chain shortages. As the world worked to recover from the ravages of COVID-19, companies had to take a twofold approach. On the one hand, they must become better able to absorb the shocks of disruption by making structural changes to the way they handle inventory, contracts, sourcing, and more. On the other hand, they must strengthen their ability to recover from supply chain shortages by adding digital capabilities and new processes that allow for the identification and mitigation of risks, as well as increased scenario planning. Resilience depends on the ability to anticipate and adapt; companies that build these muscles today will withstand the shocks of tomorrow and recover well ahead of the competition, argued BCG.
- The COVID-19 crisis illuminated the value of resilience in business, as some companies were better able than others to absorb the shock and take advantage of lasting changes. As the acute portion of the crisis fades, many leaders articulate a desire to build resilience into their companies. However, there is not yet a well-codified playbook for systematically measuring and managing resilience, warned BCG.
- The application of genetics to medicine in a systematic and transformative way - not just in understanding the pathology of diseases but in tracking their spread and curing and preventing them - could underpin what's becoming known as “natural security”: the task of making societies resilient in the face of risks stemming from their connection to the living world, whether because of disease, food insecurity, biological warfare or environmental degradation. The pandemic showed that biomedical science has the tools and the enthusiasm to improve the world, argued The Economist.
- The School of Life believes that most of us could manage perfectly well with very much less than we have, or rather than we think we should have. Not just around possessions but across every aspect of our lives. It’s not that we should want to: it’s simply that we could. We could cope quite well with being rather poor, not being very popular, not having a very long life and with living alone. We could even, to put the extreme instance forward, cope with being dead; it happens all the time. But we forget our resilience in the face of the risks we face. The cumulative effect of our innocence is to make us timid. Our lives become dominated by a fear of losing, or never getting, things which we could (in fact) do perfectly well without. TSOL adds that by continually renewing our acquaintance with our own resilience – that is, with our ability to manage even if things go badly (getting sacked, a partner walking out, a scandal that destroys our social life, an illness) – we can be braver because we grasp that the dangers we face are almost never as great as our imaginations tend to suggest.
- The COVID-19 pandemic renewed interest in resilience as a transformative force for future-proofing international, regional, national and local policies. Indeed some of the most developed countries were the most vulnerable to the global health outbreak. However, a number of countries, cities, companies and communities that better understood their vulnerabilities and acted proactively to find remedies and solutions stayed ahead of the curve in response and recovery.
- Assessment is the first step in making an organisation more resilient, according to the University of Pennsylvania's Judith Rodin. Leaders must know all areas of risk to their companies, even if they can't address them immediately.
- HBR reported on an ADP global study of resilience around the world, asking 25,000 working adults in 25 countries 10 key questions. Findings suggest that resilience levels are not connected to gender - men and women around the world have almost exactly the same levels of resilience. Nor does age seem to be a significant factor. Rather, resilience appears to be a reactive state of mind created by exposure to suffering and the more tangible the threat, the more resilient we become, both very relevant findings in a time of pandemic.
- Customer priorities changed rapidly during the coronavirus pandemic, and the massive shift to remote working posed a major risk to companies’ infrastructure. In this bleak context - and in general - resilience is a key driver of value. Some companies outperform their peers during downturns while many others lose ground or don’t survive. In the past four downturns since 1985, about one in seven companies increased both its sales growth rate and its profit margins, according to a 2019 BCG study.
- Japanese scientists revived microbes more than 100 million years old. They (the microbes) never had what we might consider a varied life, eking it out in layers of sediment deep beneath the floor of the Pacific ocean; and they are hardly sentient now, but they are proof of the extraordinary durability of life on Earth, reported Tortoise Media.
- Quartz warned that there’s a dark side to resilience. Bad things happen to everyone, and it’s empowering to focus on how we recover. But an essay for Teen Vogue showed how too much focus on bouncing back can keep us from asking how to prevent more suffering in the first place - and holding institutions accountable.
- What defines a company’s culture as resilient, asked Raconteur, before suggesting that such a company tends to have strong, transparent and visible leadership, engaged and empowered employees, and strong brand trust, both internally and externally. Resilient cultures have a powerful, ethical core so employees don’t have to second-guess the right thing to do. Many also favour an agile working model, fostering a climate of collaboration that enables rapid communication and supportive, effective colleague networks.
- Gallup believes that a make-or-break trait for organisations during tough times is resilience.This is especially true during the coronavirus pandemic. People's compounding concerns about their health, financial future and disrupted lives make this the toughest time many have ever experienced. Gallup analytics are finding unprecedented spikes in daily worry and stress, while overall percentages of people "thriving" have dropped to Great Recession-era lows. It takes an exceptional level of resilience for organisations and employees to thrive in such an uncertain and radically disrupted climate.
- Even when lockdown restrictions begin to ease, businesses will need to figure out how to operate in new ways. In short, resiliency—the ability to absorb a shock, and to come out of it better than the competition—will be the key to survival and long-term prosperity.Again, the past can be a prelude. McKinsey research on the 2008 financial crisis found that a small group of companies in each sector outperformed their peers. They did get hurt, with revenues falling about the industry average, but they recovered much faster. By 2009, the earnings of the resilient companies had risen 10 percent, while that of the nonresilients had gone down almost 15 percent. What characterised the resilient companies was preparation before the crisis - they typically had stronger balance sheets - and effective action during it, specifically, their ability to cut operating costs.
- Russian scientists have been able to regenerate a plant from a seed found in Siberian permafrost that was more than 30,000 years old. The Silene stenophylla is the oldest plant to be regenerated, the researchers said, and it is fertile, producing white flowers and viable seeds. The experiment proves that permafrost serves as a natural depository for ancient life forms, claim the Russian researchers.
- Further reading:
- Natural Born Heroes explored multiple disciplines to uncover the secrets behind human endurance. The book is an investigation into endurance that connects World War II history, ancient Greek history, nutrition, genetics, strength and conditioning science, and even parkour.
- Resilience will become a significant challenge as we face greater threats from cybersecurity and climate change over the coming years. One example: the banana has turned into a monoculture, with the single variety Cavendish banana favoured by the increasingly homogenised global consumer, now existentially threatened by Panama disease.
- Further reading:
- Further reading:
- Further reading:
- The School of Life believes that many people grow up with a strong attachment to a plan A, that is, an idea of how our lives will go and what we need to do to achieve our particular set of well-defined goals. But then, for some of us and at one level all of us, life turns out to have made a few other plans. It is for such moments that we should, even when things appear calm and hopeful, consider one of life’s most vital skills: that of developing a plan B. We should realise that Plan As simply do not work out all the time. No one gets through life with all their careful plan As intact. Something unexpected, shocking and abhorrent regularly comes along, not only to us, but to all human beings. The second point is to realise that we are, despite moments of confusion, eminently capable of developing very decent plan Bs. The path ahead may be blocked, but we have notable scope to find other routes through. One door may close, but there truly are many other entrances to try.
- Raconteur believes that building resilience can involve big strategic decisions for companies. If, for example, natural disasters remain a strong possibility in part of the world where key suppliers exist, companies may be wise to consider moving a proportion of their business to suppliers elsewhere. Technology has given businesses tremendous opportunities to reduce risk. Advances in satellite imagery have supplied companies with more detailed weather forecasts and the chance to assess likely impacts on particular geographical locations. Data analytics and modelling software let supply chain managers see how a potential problem in one area affects every other aspect of the business.
- Further reading:
- Further reading:
- A clinical psychologist examined practical ways to overcome whatever life throws your way, having spent close to two decades studying adult development and listening to the stories of people in her clinical practice. Along the way, she’s learned important lessons about resilience, which she shared in her new book,Supernormal. One key takeaway? “Resilience is not a trait. It’s not something you’re born with. It’s not something you just have.”
- “The sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being,” Carl Jung wrote as he contemplated life and death. For Brain Pickings, the most astonishing part of this is just how resourceful we can be in kindling that flame even amid the most oxygen-deprived and suffocating of circumstances - a kind of spiritual survival instinct the "vitalising beauty of which only the oppressed, the marginalised, and the otherwise banished from mainstream society have the painful privilege of knowing". This painful privilege is what Hannah Arendt explored in Men in Dark Times (public library) - a 1968 collection of essays.
- Brain Pickings suggests complementing Men in Dark Times with Rebecca Solnit on finding hope amid despair and Albert Camus on how to ennoble our minds in difficult times.
- In 7 Things Resilient People Do Differently, a peak performance coach explained that “emotional resilience” is one of the attributes that sets successful people apart. His manual reviewed seven habits that aim to strengthen emotional muscles, such as taking ownership of negative emotions, developing self-awareness, modifying internal self-talk, and replacing limiting beliefs.
- The concept of resilience accepts that change is inevitable and focuses on being able to withstand the unexpected.
- Nassim Taleb believes that the best preparation for “black swan” (unexpected, unpredictable and catastrophic) events is not “resilient” systems (i.e. with ability to bounce back from these events) but “anti-fragile” systems (i.e. that actually benefit from such events).
- Resilience Circles are small groups where people come together to increase their personal security through learning, mutual aid, social action, and community support.
- Setbacks and suffering can make us stronger, argued J.K. Rowling in a thought-provoking speech. See J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine on Vimeo. Extract..."The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more to me than any qualification I ever earned."
- Recent academic research comes to similar conclusions after examining different facets of whether suffering can be part of well-being.
- Both examples seem to chime well with the growing interest in resilience - on the personal level, of course, but also increasingly, in terms of organisational resilience and (ever-mindful of Ozymandias, as we witness the pillars of climate and finance and other resources totter around us) societal resilience too.