On resilience

I define resilience as the ability of an individual or an organisation to deal with and to recover from adverse events. Our collective resilience has been tested extensively over the past few years. But it’s evident that personal, professional and corporate resilence is as important now as it has ever been.

Adverse events can take many forms. As I write this, the UK’s financial markets are in turmoil, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is escalating rapidly and a ‘historic’ storm is making landfall in Florida. Inflation is on the rise, gas and electricity are at risk of becoming scare commodities and much of England is in drought conditions. Oh, and the global climate continues to teeter on the verge of breakdown.

On a more personal note, I learned earlier this week that a colleague of my wife, who was also a good friend of mine, has passed away just months after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. He was the same age as me. He leaves behind a wife, two teenage children and a large hole in many lives.

Some element of our resilience to events such as these is inherent. But we can also take action to improve our – and our organisations’ – ability to ‘bounce back’. Such action can range from simply maintaining a reasonable level of health and fitness to making contingency plans for likely adverse scenarios to creating networks of individuals and organisations who can provide mutual aid and support in times of crisis.

We have learned in recent years (often the hard way) that we can’t anticipate every challenging scenario that we will face. But we have also learned that our capacity to respond to such challenges is greater than we might expect. Yet we can, and we must, develop further our individual and collective resilience. Because it will continue to be tested in the months and years to come.

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