How can you build a resilient business so you can not just survive difficult times but accelerate through them and pull ahead of the crowd as things improve?
No matter what business you are in, resilience starts with your team.
A recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) article Build your Team’s Resilience — From Home by David Sluss and Edward Powley gives some great research-backed stories and advice on practical things you can do keep an eye on how your team is doing, and create ways to develop and support resilience.
I’m going to focus here on the three “protective or facilitative factors” outlined in the article, and I’ll show how they are connected to Superpower Pack™ abilities rooted in Amazon Leadership Principles and practices. I’ll use the term “Superpower” to refer to the important macro-level abilities Superpower Pack helps you identify, leverage and grow.
Each of the Superpowers I’ll reference below has an accompanying description, supporting Powers and connections that will help you build new capabilities in yourself and your team. Resilient teams exhibit balanced competencies across the disciplines I’ll outline here. I’ll narrow the discussion to just two Superpowers for each of the three factors from the article, one with an individual focus and one with a team focus.
The three factors in the HBR article are (1) Confidence in Abilities; (2) Disciplined Routines; and (3) Support. I’ll cover them in that order and talk about them both from the perspective of evaluating whether someone is demonstrating the factor and whether someone is helping foster that factor in others.
Confidence in Abilities
“Have confidence that if you have done a little thing well, you can do a bigger thing well, too.”
– David Malcolm Storey
Confidence in abilities is a great foundation of empowerment — if you know what you can do, you can maintain a sense of agency or control over at least part of the difficult situation. It’s not always easy to tell how confident someone is feeling, and they could be feeling confident about some things and not others. Sometimes expressions of confidence can be a smoke-screen, too. Instead of directly asking about confidence, look for these signs of the Vision Superpower: Optimism, Boldness, Creativity and Initiative. If a person is feeling confident, they are more likely to present an optimistic attitude, express bold and creative ideas, and take initiative or volunteer for new things. If they are not feeling confident, these are less likely. Don’t forget to self-evaluate on these as well.
Looking beyond the individual, what can a person do to encourage confidence in others? Essentially, you are looking for people with the Coaching Superpower. A good coach will see what a person is good at, where they need to improve, and how to do it. A great coach knows how to communicate those things clearly and with prioritization, and especially in a way that gives a sense of confidence that goes a little beyond a person’s sphere of competence; getting people to have the confidence to perform, but also to stretch.
“Es ist nicht genug zu wissen, man muß auch anwenden; es ist nicht genug zu wollen, man muß auch tun.”
(It is not enough to know, we must also apply; it is not enough to will, we must also do.)
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Wilhelm Meister’s Journeyman Years, Book 3, chapter “From Makarie’s Archive” (1829)
The second factor — “disciplined routines” — is important for turning abilities to results. For individuals, you are looking for people to demonstrate elements of the Execution Superpower, including Intentionality, Prudence and Initiative. Who is and is not working diligently and reliably on the right things? Who is and is not showing good judgment in ensuring consistent progress is made and goals are reached?
To find the people who are helping the entire team deliver better, focus on the Direction Superpower, including Organization, Effectiveness and Delegation. Not everyone who demonstrates these abilities will be in a formal leadership role. Keep an eye out for people at all levels who are helping (or hindering) team delivery by showing (or not showing, or even thwarting) effective organization and delegation. Judgment plays a significant role here as well as at the individual level. Who is getting the team aligned and moving in the right direction, and utilizing everyone’s talents well?
If things are not going well with you, begin your effort at correcting the situation by carefully examining the service you are rendering, and especially the spirit in which you are rendering it.
—Roger Ward Babson
The third factor — “support” — is especially important for team cohesion. You are looking not only for formal team leadership to be supportive, but for everyone on the team to support the people around them. At the individual level, look for how people are Recruiting others, not just in terms of new employees joining the company, but also in smaller ways. For example, recruiting others to join a project or to sign on to deliver something by a specific deadline. Look also for signs of Suasion. Maybe its that person who is well-connected and can use those contacts to get navigate obstacles, or maybe its someone who is particularly good at seeing common ground between two points of view others might miss and articulating it well to get buy-in from a broader group. Suasion can be a powerful force for good or bad, so make sure it is balanced with integrity and good judgment.
Your “amplifiers” in this area are your people who are good at the Service Superpower. They are genuinely helpful and generous with time and resources. And, they show they value others by being punctual (this could show up in meeting attendance or in responsiveness to communications or in delivering on promises… on time).
Starting and Building Momentum
I’ve provided a few quick examples of things to focus on in yourself and in your team that will help you build resilience along the lines of the stories in the HBR article. Watch for these things whether you or your team are working remotely or in person; they are important in both situations.
When you are ready to build resilience and deliver better results faster contact me for a personal video call introduction to Superpower Pack. I’ll personally demonstrate using this unique and powerful tool in a real-world scenario of your choosing.
I also offer virtual workshops for groups of 10-20 participants with a group portion and one-on-one individual coaching to get everyone off to a strong start.
If you already have Superpower Pack, contact me for free bonus content that goes deeper, including showing how the other Superpowers beyond the ones mentioned above work together to support Core Resilience.
§ § §
 This aphorism made its way into Maxims and Reflections in 1833. Project Gutenberg has a digital version since 2010 of a translation into English by Bailey Saunders published in 1906: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/33670/33670-h/33670-h.htm#IV. Bruce Lee is also said to have used a similar expression.