Five Keys to Building Change Resilience for You and Your Team

Noelle Akins
By: Noelle Akins
Date: January 29, 2020

This article was originally published in Training Industry Magazine.

Keys to Build Change ResilienceToday’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous – also referred to as VUCA – environment is accelerating at a pace that threatens to overwhelm. However, according to the 2019 Change Lab Workplace Survey, it is the quality of change leadership, rather than the quantity of change, that drains or sustains. In the face of fluctuating regulations, disruptive competitors and emergent client requirements, learning professionals and people leaders can employ five strategies to build resilience.


Resilience is the ability to adapt well in the face of threat, adversity or significant stress. A critical survival element to assimilate to ongoing change, resilience allows oneself to bounce back after hardship.


Change is a journey to a place you and your peers have never been before. This is risky business. Rather than moving straight from current state to goal state, the path of change curves with emotional dips, including fear and anger, as employees leave the status quo behind for the great unknown. People often take change personally. Fueling this emotional dip, per the NeuroLeadership Institute, is a sense of social threat — fear of how the change will impact oneself and their interactions with others. Without a growth mindset, new and uncharted paths increase that sense of threat.

The growth mindset, characterized by Dr. Carol Dweck as a bent toward true learning, includes a willingness to embrace challenge and persist through adversity – qualities essential for successfully navigating change. As you travel through the change curve, allow for progress rather than perfection. Individuals with growth mindsets stretch themselves, accept feedback and take the long view. An openness to hard work, risk and even the prospect of failure provide foundational aspects for cultivating change resilience.

To develop a growth mindset, become aware of the personal narrative in your head. If you notice that you quickly approach on problems with fixed answers or solutions, open yourself up to alternatives. During times of challenge, speak statements that make room for growth. For example, if a new opportunity is bungled, rather than remarking, “Wow, that was really bad,” try saying, “Guess I am not there quite yet. I need more practice.” Allowing for growth relieves pressure and enables you to set  appropriate expectations.

Through their words and actions, leaders either communicate a sense of hope for the future or foster stress and fear. The most effective leaders of change develop their emotional intelligence in order to leverage the power of positivity as they move their people through change. Emotions are contagious, so be careful what you spread!


Read the full article here.

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