The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

Resilience at Work Equals Great Cultures

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Friday, November 02, 2018
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Hyper-speed and hypertension. Connectivity 24/7. Disruption upon disruption. Technology that overturns the latest and the greatest. The list is endless as workers at all levels face an array of demands.  According to my colleague, Bill Jensen, 47% of jobs will disappear in the next 25 years which means workers at all levels will face a rethinking and retooling of what “work” really means.

At a recent meeting of The Conference Board in Boston, speakers and attendees alike merged to talk about finding the core skill that can help: RESILIENCE! At the core of various internal programs, digital applications, and leadership practices, the overwhelming need was to demonstrate concern for the individual’s well-being and to create conversations between managers and workers. Note the word: conversation.  This is not email. This is not a tweet. It is face-to-face or at least ear-to-ear conversation. In my viewpoint, what that does is create the connections that produce the energy of engagement. And what is “energy” but the capacity to do work.

The consensus was that organizations need to pay attention to the holistic well-being of the team and the environment.Traditional “stress management” has been enhanced with the teaching of a mindfulness practice.The company, Big Health introduced a resource to help employees get better sleep—a crucial component of brain and body functioning. Under the direction of Dr. Jane McGonigle SuperBetter at Work introduced the concept of using gamification to help people develop resilience-building practices in a fun, social environment. Maven Clinic offered a look at a virtual resource for handling women’s health and family well-being.

In short, there are a myriad of resources that organizations can deploy to help employees find constructive, thoughtful ways to handle the demands of today’s workplace.

In my role as one of the closing panelists, I focused on one issue that all the programs in the world will not address: the distance between senior leadership’s decisions and an awareness of the impact those decisions on the downline. Example: currently, stress levels in the airline industry appear to be highest among reservation agents and gate personnel.  American Airlines just made an announcement that such personnel are NOT to book passengers on a competing airline if an American flight is cancelled.  Instead, passengers must wait until an American flight becomes available.  If that’s the case, passengers can wait hours if not days to get to their destination.Can you see the heat reservations and gate agents will now take?!  More stress.

As hard as this might be, my number one advice for any employee tasked with developing resiliency programs is this: speak truth to power.  I believe the pressure on senior leaders can have them making decisions quickly without taking into account what are the impacts on the folks who will be impacted by such decisions.

Communicate widely and often. Listen with head and heart. Seek ideas from a diverse group. The culture you create—if it is to be a GREAT culture that keeps people engaged and excited—will be a resilient culture because you put people first.



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Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

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