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How to Manage With Resilience in Uncertain Times

published: April 15, 2020

We hum along in our lives, continually planning for the future. But the unsettling reality is there's only so much that is in one's control. Surprise storms can hit at any time. 

From an economic standpoint, surprise storms are called "black swan" events.

These incidents are unpredictable and can produce catastrophic impact practically overnight. In the case of natural disasters or our current global pandemic, for example.

When business is hit with a surprise storm

In the wake of such disasters, organizations can be a little slow to react—not always grasping the severity of the unexpected event until it's too late.

Pure resilience hinges on being able to make tough decisions quickly and with little information.

In short, good managers promptly leap into action before things deteriorate. 

Ultimately, no matter how difficult the reality is to accept, when an unforeseen disaster looms, "business as usual," is not the mantra managers should be meditating on. 


Business Resilience Planning: Mitigating the Shock 

For organizations living through a challenging economic climate, the test of true resilience is the continuity of the business. 

In this context, "resilience" is an organization's ability to rapidly adapt and respond to massive market disruption and also maintain near-uninterrupted operations.

Business Resilience Planning includes critical and supportive guidance to the staff so that they can respond, resume, and restore to a predetermined level of operation after an organizational disruption.

In short, the goal of resilience planning is to ensure the survival of the organization, despite uncertain economic times.

Let's look at some of the actionable tips managers can use to practice resilience, but also how they apply to employee well-being and happiness during uncertain times.


5 Tips for Managers to Promote Resilience in Difficult Times

Businesses everywhere are navigating deep and troubled waters. In the current economic context, Business Resilience Planning could make or break an organization. 

Promoting resilience also means cultivating it in your people. They are the backbone of your Business. Employees provide the products and services your bottom line relies on. 

That said, taking care of the mental well being of employees should be a priority during these times. Here are five (5) key ways managers can encourage resilience among all levels of business.

  • Be honest with your team about the situation and communicate your company's position often
    • Have a plan and don't be afraid to adapt it as the situation calls for.
    • Ask your employees for their input and feedback on things that directly affect them.
    • Keep everyone informed and be proactive about releasing important information. 
  • Focus on employee mental and physical well-being
    • Provide team-building activities and employee wellness programs
    • Cement your relationships by being supportive and accommodating
    • Ensure employees can express themselves freely, feel valued, and are often recognized.
  • Solicit and act upon employee feedback and encourage empathetic discussion
    • Use company Polls and Employee Pulse Surveys to gauge employee sentiment
    • Use this information to encourage open and safe communication about difficult issues
    • Provide support and consider HR policies which can help your workforce get through shared difficult times.
  • Double-down on keeping your teams connected and engaged with their work
  • Align your teams around your company mission and make sure it's firmly rooted in your core values
    • Revisit your mission statement and align your teams around your company's "Why."
    • Make sure every employee believes and espouses the company mission
    • Ensure that the mission is aligned with the realities of your current market situation.


Final Thoughts: Promote a shared mission 

There is nothing more powerful than bonding groups through shared passions and belief systems. 

When companies unite workers, through mutual passions and beliefs, it gives rise to a positive experience of belonging. This translates into an experience of psychological safety.

This feeling of security is fundamental to build an organization that prospers long-term. It's the companies with rich cultures that stay intact (and maybe even grow stronger) despite outside events.

Lesson to take away: continue to promote your own core values or other strong values like resilience, loyalty, belief, and purpose. And if you haven't established official core values, now would be a perfect time to do so. Because when a crew is working towards the same goals and driven by shared purpose, they will surely weather the storm.