Home / Opinion & Views / Resilience


Resilience is the ability to recover and carry on when things don't go as expected. Guy Baker gives insights on how to develop resilience in your team.

Resilience is the ability to recover and carry on when things don't go as expected. Whether a setback results from inefficient planning or situations out of our control, learning how to deal with difficult situations and grow from a less than positive experience keeps us reaching our goals.

In December 2019, Catalyst Global was looking towards 2020 with positivity. It was going to be our best year. Our global network of team building organisations was engaged in daily collaboration and stronger than ever. Our internal systems were running like clockwork. With the changes in the world of work, with a greater focus on collaboration and the needs of human resources, the future for team building looked bright. As 2020 unfolded in the face of the upheaval that Covid19 brought, it became increasingly apparent that the ability to adapt when facing unforeseen challenges and to have resilience were key ingredients to thriving in both in business and our home lives.

Our old ways may not serve us well. Now more than ever, we need to be elastic, stretch ourselves and be flexible in the face of change, or lack of change! Without jumping on the "power of positive thought" bandwagon, I know first hand that a springy positive disposition is a cornerstone to resilience in my business life.

What are the key steps in building resilience in your self and as a leader, in your team?

Face the facts

One of the first steps in building resilience is acknowledging the situation and how you feel about it. From there, you can develop strategies to assist you in dealing with unplanned situations when they arise again. Realising that things don't always go as planned will help you in reframing minor hiccups and mistakes.

Adjust your Outlook

Learn to face unexpected circumstances head-on and view them as a place of learning and growth. If something occurs that you forgot to plan for, you won't forget it next time! We can't all be good at everything! Acknowledge your strengths and achievements and view adversity as a way to develop further. This will help you build positivity and optimism.

It's important not to waste time and energy blaming others for what occurred. Focus on what you can control and remain optimistic about moving forward. Viewing the unexpected as a temporary setback, not a permanent state will enable you to be resilient. It is also essential to be passionate and committed to your end goal as this will help you drive on through hiccups along the way.

I recently heard a fantastic podcast hosted by Tim Ferris featuring Marc Randolph on his journey around building Netflix. Lucky they kept their focus and were not brought down when rejected by Blockbuster. A seemingly negative setback turned out to be one of the most positive turning points for them.

Lead by Example

It's important for team leaders to develop thought awareness and positive thinking in themselves so they can lead by example. Despite having a positive disposition, I love to be in control and so when things don't go as planned I have to make a conscious effort to look for the positive, stay focused and find creative solutions. It's not always easy. By doing so, however, I know I can infect my team with possibilities and kept them focused on the way ahead despite the bump in the road.

Knowing your team and having confidence in each individual is important. And, arming your team with strategies by which each individual can develop self-confidence is important to building resilience in the face of the unexpected.

Encourage the team not to personalise setbacks and not to apply blame. Instead, drive focus towards a solution and the learnings. Consistently draw the team away from any negative chat, encouraging them to focus forward and be busy with rectifying and bettering the situation.

Building better relationships

Good relationships among team members will build reliance and encourage them to work together to overcome obstacles. For team members to trust and respect each other, they need to know each other. Organise opportunities for team members to have shared experience together that is outside the norm of everyday work. Take time for team building activities that are fun and memorable, and moreover structured around fostering open communication, shared knowledge and give space for storytelling. Finding common ground, understanding and developing empathy is fundamental to building resilience in teams.