Live Event Synopsis: Resilient Leadership: Building Strength for Adversity

We were delighted to partner with Organisation Solutions and host live webinars for the HR community in APAC and EMEA.

The topic: Resilient Leadership: Building Strength for Adversity

With constant change comes constant adversity. So what does it take to thrive?

So far 2020 has seen a lot of changes for organisations and individuals at a speed that six months ago no one would have thought possible. Organisation Solutions work with companies going through change and they conduct vast amounts of research into what helps people thrive through change.

Studies on resilience shows positive outcomes for organisations both individually on a performance level but also for the company overall.

Through this webinar the panellists talked about:

  • What drives resilience both at a team and individual level
  • What we should be doing as leaders and organisations
  • What are the things we should be thinking about and practically doing

The panel

Corinne Williams, CPsychol is Senior Vice President, Leader Services at Organisation Solutions. She has over 20 years’ experience in building leader and organisational capability. As part of her role, she leads the global coaching practice and provides coaching to global and top regional leaders. Prior to Organisation Solutions, Corinne held senior roles at Standard Chartered Bank and Shell in Europe and Asia.

Stephanie Nash is the Global Chief People Officer at ChapmanCG and is responsible for growing and developing our global organisation, and providing insights on HR trends to our global network. She also holds the role of Global Head of Chapman Ventures, and provides guidance across Matthew Chapman’s broader portfolio of business interests and innovations in human resources. This includes ChapmanV’s Global HR Exchange, which will be an online community for HR professionals. Stephanie previously held Senior HR Leadership positions with Microsoft, Allergan and BHP Billiton.

Dr. Robert Kovach is a Director in Cisco’s People & Communities Function (HR) serving in the Conscious Leadership & Teams Solutions Area. Prior to joining Cisco Robert was Managing Director of the London office for RHR International; Director of Human Resources for Central & Eastern Europe & Russia with PepsiCo based in Warsaw, Poland; and a Director of the Executive MBA and member of faculty for both Ashridge Executive Education in England and the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. He has authored over 80 articles and four book chapters on leadership effectiveness and organisational development. Robert received his PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Wayne State University. He is a member of the British Psychological Society, the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology and the American Psychological Association.

Anika Grant is a global leader in HR with more than 20 years’ business experience, along with a passion for people and developing talent. Anika has served in a diverse range of roles across Sydney, London, Paris and Singapore. Currently Global HR Director, Markets at Dyson, Anika is responsible for a team of global HR professionals supporting Dyson’s revenue generating business. Prior to Dyson, Anika was at Uber, where she had accountability for growing the global HR team while scaling HR operations during a period of hyper growth. Previously Anika held senior roles at Accenture including APAC HR Director, where she led a team of 500 HR professionals, and was responsible for all HR service delivery across eight Asian markets. Recognised as an expert in Human Resources, she’s been a Board Advisor for at Ecosystm, a digital technology research and advisory firm, and at Awantunai, an Indonesian fintech. She is also a guest lecturer on HR topics at universities in Singapore and France.

Attendees to the webinar had some questions to which our panellist, Corinne Williams provided answers. You can see the feedback below.


How would you suggest that we identify or assess individuals during hiring to identify the qualities of resilience like self-control, flexibility, composure in them?

I recommend using an assessment that measures both the characteristics and strategies. For example, our Organisation Solutions’ Growth Leader Assessment assesses resilience styles and strategies along with other critical leadership capabilities. In interviews asking about situations of failure and serious adversity. You’re looking for how they implemented resilient practices and strategies at an individual level and with their team / wider organisation.  If they can’t give an example of an adversity – that is a red flag for me.

Can authenticity be trained?

Yes, to some degree, becoming more aware of who you are, your strengths and development areas and how they show themselves in different situations is trainable. Skills like authentic communication, listening, empathy can also be enhanced by learnable skills. As a leader, extreme authenticity is not advisable either, research shows that this can lead to derailers which constrain leadership impact and promotion. Learning to manage these is critical.

I understand that Clarity is important for building a resilient team. How does that tie in with the need for all of us to be able to operate in Ambiguity?

Clarity of expectations and priorities and processes enhances team resilience. Engaging people in creating that clarity serves the purpose of also helping them build capability to manage ambiguity.

On a broader level, as HR Leaders what are some of the practical ways that we can enhance Organisation Resilience (Team Resilience at an Organisation level)

At an organisational level, build capability of the organisation to both manage stress and transform for the future. For example, by enhancing “Outside In” thinking and having a market and customer ‘radar’ for risks, changes and opportunities in the market. Enhancing the resilience of your eco-system, partners, customers suppliers etc. Finally, having your leadership team role model and prioritise the resilient practices for individual and teams we discussed.

What is the reason that curiosity is under “Control” pillar of what makes a Resilient Team but not with the Capabilities pillar?

Curiosity is part of a positive outlook set of behaviours which have a ‘build and broaden’ effect – i.e. building capabilities and broadening resources. Curious people know more about the situation, reach out and take action which enhances their sense of control.

Under Connection pillar of what makes Resilient Team – Would empathy, understanding of differences, e.g. cultural differences

All qualities are important to create connection and trust. Empathy, fairness and inclusivity are all important to help people thrive in any change situation.

Working virtually for a longer period can and has resulted in a more official conversations and relationship as compared to personal that can be built via physical gathering.  What is your advice on how HR can help here?

Look at communication cadence and encourage personal get-togethers. Encourage leaders to do simple things such as have virtual coffee with people. Take advantage of collaboration technology. I notice that in organisations with a more information communication culture this is continuing online. Many teams work virtually and travel is likely to be minimised for quite a while, so investing in building the capability to connect virtually is a great way to build future advantage. Use this as an opportunity to crowdsource ideas, engage your team members and experiment with ideas.

Individuals often see themselves differently than others do. How do you advise a leader who perceives him/herself as resilient but is not viewed in that way by others? Is there a simple objective test or assessment of resilience?

Is it just in the resilient are that this leader has a very different self-perception than others? If it is more general then there may be a need to help them develop self-awareness through 360 feedback, insight or coaching. Happy to discuss how we (Organisation Solutions) can help here. We often use our assessments for resilience and growth leader capabilities to help provide objective insight and follow up for leaders.

Cognitively one cannot be both curious and anxious at the same time. So, mindfulness is not tree hugging it’s about disconnecting the “fight and flight” and rumination stuff. What is your take on this?

Agreed. Mindfulness skills are very important to build resilience capability. They enable us to create a pause and distance ourselves which calms the nervous system. In terms of the four strategies to build resilience I encourage this to be an important part of the focus, but not the only focus of leaders and organisations approach.

I am wondering about where current context – virtual working – would work with this framework of resilience. It is a period of high resources, high demand which brings Work Engagement per the framework – yet it doesn’t feel like high engagement due to unique work from home (WFH) context?

In this situation, demands may be going up faster than resources are available. This makes burnout more likely. There are also other factors that can impact work engagement that may be impacted by WFH environment.

We like to thank our panellists as well as all the attendees for engaging in this discussion with us. If you would like to be considered to join our next webinar please ensure that you subscribe to our database.


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