Article · 6 minute read

Building Resilient Agility: Why this should be a people priority

10th March 2021

Everyone’s talking about it...

Change and transformation isn’t new, but the pandemic acted as a catalyst for the level of uncertainty facing organizations and their people.

As a result, there has been a renewed focus from clients wanting to measure and build behaviors such as resilience, agility, grit and flexibility in their people. They are seeking new, practical and straightforward ways to support their employees deal with the increasing pace of change.

This renewed focus is echoed across industry media and business leaders. Personnel Today commented that “building resilience among employees should be top of the agenda for business leaders” and CEO of Thomson Reuters, Steve Haskin, acknowledged the unparalleled pace of change; “I think we’ve seen 3 to 4 years of progress in just 3 to 4 months, in terms of acceptance of what the new world needs to look like.”

It’s more than just a trend...

Although the characteristics of resilience and agility are under the spotlight now, they have always been extremely important and will continue to be. Throughout a person’s career, they will face uncertainty, experience change, receive both positive & negative feedback, adapt to new environments, experience failure and take on extra responsibilities. Navigating this successfully is crucial for a positive employee experience, workplace wellbeing and effective job performance.

You need to look at both sides of the coin...

Many organizations are facing similar challenges when supporting their people navigate change and transformation but are reaching different conclusions as to which behaviors underpin it. We delved into over 10 years of Wave big data and noted a critical combination; Individuals are more likely to be effective during change where they have capacity to respond positively and the perseverance to sustain their level of performance throughout.

The building resilient agility model show four areas, dealing with change, maintaining drive, staying connected and Enabling new ways of working

Resilient Agility is special form of agility which is robust and can be maintained over the longer term. In times of instability, individuals need to be more than just flexible, they must demonstrate grit in remaining intellectually and emotionally positive about change.

The approach takes account of relevant existing literature and perspectives, including research into resilience, agility and grit. These areas rooted in positive psychology have been found to impact workplace performance, organizational commitment and wellbeing in work (Credé, Tynan & Harms, 2017; De Meuse, 2017; Youssef & Luthan, 2007).

There are 4 key drivers of Resilient Agility:

Dealing with Change focuses on understanding how we are likely to feel and react emotionally during times of change and uncertainty. Reflecting on our past experiences and how we have felt can help us better understand how to be more resilient in dealing with future uncertainty. Focusing on the positive aspects of change and envisioning a way forward can facilitate the change process.

Example: “The Building Resilient Agility report helped me reflect on how I deal with change. I realized that I need a certain amount of change in my role to stay engaged and that I am likely to embrace the opportunities change brings. On the other hand, I became more self-aware about the fact that I often initially do not feel positive about the uncertainty change brings, and that my initial less positive response has an impact on how other team members feel about the change. It is important for me to be mindful how I express myself when I have these initial less-positive feelings but also that once I feel more positive about the change, I share my enthusiasm with others.“

The second driver, Staying Connected, reminds us that actively communicating and contributing keeps us engaged in the process of change and ensures others stay informed. Building support networks is an important part of the transformation journey, particularly with those who promote constructive dialogue. Utilizing technology and virtual working can help to both stay connected and reconnect with others.

Example: “This is an area of challenge for me. I have found it harder to stay connected with the team now we are all working remotely. The Building Resilient Agility report helped me realize that whilst I can communicate clearly and convince others of my thinking when needed, I struggle to stay connected with my wider support network. I am actively taking steps to set up calls with my wider network especially on projects where I am less certain about what the best direction is and where I benefit from a different perspective.”

A natural instinctive reaction to changing events can be to reject or ignore their significance. The third driver, Enabling New Ways of Working , encourages us to leverage insights gained from changes and focus on their longer-term impact to help us to be more productive through formulating new and better ways of working. Reworking plans and strategies can provide a renewed sense of purpose and direction for ourselves and those around us.

Example: The Building Resilient Agility report helped me realize that Enabling New Ways of Working is an area of key strength for me. Although I must be careful to not overplay some areas. My preference for looking at the long-term opportunities that change brings and the tendency to trust my intuition in these circumstances means that at times I overlook the facts and forget to deal with what is happening right in front of me at present.”

Finally, while change is happening, it is easy to lose focus on what matters and Maintaining Drive. Taking action on things that are within our control can provide an increased sense of involvement in the change process. Continuing to achieve key goals can help focus ourselves and others on delivering results and finding new opportunities, rather than constantly being distracted by unexpected events or changes. Celebrating success is important for personal and team morale, while also promoting a focus on getting the right things done.

Example: “I consider Maintaining Drive in times of change and transformation as a key strength. I am very goal-oriented and have the ability to co-ordinate others to get things done. The Building Resilient Agility report made me more self-aware of how I can leverage this strength and what I need to watch out for. For example, I have the tendency to push myself and others too hard, which can come across as less considerate in times where everyone is going through transformation. Furthermore, I realized the importance of focusing on critical actions and to not get distracted by less critical tasks or issues which need to be completed.”

Building Resilient Agility is predictive of workplace performance...

The newly-researched Resilient Agility model is powered by Wave, recognized in the market as the most predictive model for predicting workplace performance and potential. This means individuals who show a higher capacity for Resilient Agility are also more likely to be stronger performers in the workplace.

Straightforward high-impact solutions

The Building Resilient Agility report and accompanying group analytics support people to navigate digital transformation and M&A activity.

Requiring no accreditation training and complete with supporting user guides, conversation guides and virtual workshop materials, Building Resilient Agility presents a straightforward and high-impact solution for supporting your people through change and transformation.

Building Resilient Agility Report