In Action, Change, Leaders

“If you learn something from defeat it isn’t a loss.” – Unknown

There are a hundred things that impact whether or not your organization is successful. Some of them – change, innovation, people – get a lot of attention, and rightly so. Some of them get less attention, but that doesn’t mean they don’t matter.

One success factor that’s been front of mind lately is resilience. Some friends of mine have been focused on it lately and I’ve gained a new appreciation for how relevant it is. Resilience has probably always mattered, but I think in today’s environment it’s more important than it’s ever been.

The official definition of resilience includes things like “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties” and “the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape”, etc. As I think about the environment our organizations function in today, those definitions feel like something we’re asked to do on a regular basis.

We’re faced with a potentially overwhelming amount of change, and new challenges spring up every day. All that change, and all those challenges, mean that we’re constantly being stretched and asked to try new things or new ideas or solving new problems or trying to come up with new ideas. And with all that new stuff, sometimes we fail. Sometimes we analyze a problem, implement the best solution we can come up with, and it isn’t good enough.

When that happens, too many leaders and too any businesses pull back, crawl into a shell, and do their best to not address any more changes or challenges because they’re afraid they’ll fail again. It’s almost like they think if they just don’t do much, maybe everything will miraculously turn out OK. But you can’t hide forever.

Don’t fall into that trap. Look at all those changes and challenges as opportunities to learn. Obviously we want to succeed all the time, but that’s impossible. So don’t view failures as embarrassments or stains on your ability as a leader. View them for what they are: a chance to learn so that your organization is better and smarter and stronger than before.

Being resilient isn’t some innate ability you’re born with. Resilience is something you develop over time, by repeatedly exposing yourself to challenging situations. So get going. Start attacking change and challenges now. It’s the only way you’ll ever learn.

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