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In the final article of a three-part series, Paul Kudray, offers some advice on how to help move your organization forwards, away from de-resilience and towards resilience.

Over the last few weeks, we have introduced a brand new word into our industry dictionary: de-resilient. It describes a leadership style or an organization that either denies or depresses resilience. The word is simple, uncomplicated and easy to understand; we’re already seeing it being used by professionals around the world.


Not alluding to Michael Jackson’s famous hit, but rather the thrill of ‘moving your organization and your leaders from de-resilient to resilient’. It may not be an open and shut case, but here is how resilience can grow in a de-resilient environment.

It’s been a long time coming

We’re talking years of cultures, attitudes and competing/conflicting priorities for the leaders and organizations to try to overcome before they can make the slightest enhancements and move resilience into a more positive position. Statements that say what businesses: ‘fail to have’ and the ‘risks they have’, often have no impact upon those who can make the difference.

Behind a painted smile

Through fair means or foul, we get resilience on the agenda of the executive, or senior management team meeting - the board meeting perhaps - and it’s a major plus point. We’re feeling pretty happy. Our area of the business is being discussed. Perhaps your line manager is even present to state your case? Show the levels of assurance you want to provide, but need a little bit more support to implement? We smile inside, but it’s a painted smile because the truth is something different.

The reality in most cases is the senior team are doing their jobs, but resilience isn’t their thing. It’s competing with an already burdening agenda, packed to the rafters with more impressive looking things they need to discuss. And maybe your line manager has inherited resilience, and actually doesn’t really buy in to it her / himself, but their job role looks more impressive and justifiable when they have resilience on the job description?  Whatever it is, don’t just accept your moment in the spotlight as being as good as it gets. To do so will put you at risk of being a de-resilient, resilient lead.

Diamonds are forever

Sir John Whitmore developed a model for coaching and mentoring entitled the GROW Model. It can be used for most life and work issues, including moving out of de-resilience.

GROW stands for:

  • Goal – what do you want to achieve?
  • Reality – what is the current situation?
  • Options – what is available and what obstacles are present?
  • Will – what are you going to do about it?

So how can this help us change some of the attitudes and cultures that persistently block the developments of appropriate resilience? How can it help the move from de-resilient to resilient leadership? I suspect from experience, G and R are pretty standard across most of your needs.

Let me reiterate, what I’m suggesting isn’t going to be easy!

There have been many discussions (rightfully so) about making resilience a key performance indicator. This has happened in some organizations to good effect. But often it really does depend on the ‘will’ of the board and senior team to accept its quality value against other indicators that (generally) involve funding streams .

This is the time for action

Last week I suggested you, us and me (the YUM factor) start the ball rolling by trying to reverse some of the de-resilient thinking around leaders who just dismiss resilience as a nice to have. Now using the GROW model to effect, it’s an option we collectively have available and it’s in our power to do so.

Perhaps then the ‘O’ of the obstacles is about openly discussing de-resilience? As we already know, the solutions aren’t always the most expensive ones available. It really can be a simple phrase that reverses thinking; because leaders and organizations don’t like negativity. It’s bad for reputation and brand.

Don’t look back in anger

To me the solution lies in coaching leaders to think differently about resilience. We can’t keep blaming our organizations and our bosses, if we haven’t explained it in a way they can relate to and can understand as being of higher priority. It’s clear that current scientific jargon and definitions often fall short of their intentions, because it’s the same old news; the very people who are extremely busy with other completing issues, get switched off.

As someone who’s successfully changed an organization’s thinking towards resilience in the past, my message is: don’t look back in anger. Let’s be smarter about how we collectively approach the subject and its issues in the future. Some of that gift really is in our hands to do so. If we don’t accept that, then we’re missing the very point of what it is we preach and the majority will remain de-resilient.

The author

An international leader in business resilience consultancy, training and coaching; Paul Kudray, MSc MEPS CBCI AMBCI, is an ex-emergency services commander who finished an exemplary 32 year career in the UK healthcare sector, working for the NHS - culminating in 7½ years as the Director of Resilience for one of the world’s largest ambulance services, NWAS NHS Trust. He now works with private and public sector clients around the world, training, advising, coaching and mentoring them at the highest levels about emergency and business continuity management. Paul's company is KCL. This article may be too simple for your complex needs. If so, ping Paul a message to or via LinkedIn and he will be happy to have a chat.

Read the previous articles in this series:

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