Thursday, October 03, 2019

Resilience – Differing Definitions

re·sil·ience /rəˈzilyəns/

1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
“the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions”

2. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
“nylon is excellent in wearability and resilience”

Oxford English Dictionary via Google Chrome 2019

Resilience will be the scarce resource.

Said during a personal discussion with Robb Smith, Integral Life. He has repeated this in multiple interviews.

Robb Smith defined “resilience” as personal resilience.

Yet, in the business literature, the discussion of “resilience” emphasizes organizational resilience. Not in terms of the people, but in terms of “making sure the business survives.” The issue is couched in terms of protecting information, making sure the business can operate after a cyber (or other) attack, and leveraging AI so that you are not so dependent upon people.

This was my impression after reading the Price Waterhouse Cooper – 22nd Annual CEO Survey.

The CEOs didn’t seem to be focused on the resilience of the humans who (currently) are the organization. They were focused on the resilience of the entity that is “the corporation.” Making sure the “corporation” continues to make money for its shareholder (and themselves).

Despite the Business Roundtable’s redefinition of the purpose of the corporation away from shareholder primacy, I think it’s going to be a slow evolution – because paradigms change one “funeral” at a time.

In the meantime, how should we respond?

I’ll admit – I’m not crazy about the “Millenials are…” meme. It disregards the natural adaptability of people within other generations outside of those born in the 80s and 90s and discounts the challenges that cohort has to face that many of us didn’t (such as crushing student loan debt and formative years spent with cell phones and social media).

Where I think many members of that generation have it right is in the assumption that the “corporation will not be loyal.”

They want work that is directly in line with their own career equity, which are the skills and experiences that help them improve their career prospects. They know their time is limited, so they don’t invest in doing things outside their own path. Boomers, however, are used to working hard for a company in exchange for long-term investment in skills development and for security, like a retirement fund or pension.

Mark Lurie – The Disconnect Between Millenials and Baby Boomers When It Comes to Work Ethic

They have watched their parents (Baby Boomers and Gen Xers) get burned by the assumption that “the company cares.” And many of us in older generations are moving towards that same attitude – searching for environments where we can continue to build career equity, learn new skills, collaborate in positive and supportive teams, and work on projects that match our values and serve a higher purpose.

That contract – employee loyalty for corporate security – was torn up long ago -starting in the 1970s as the “shareholder primacy” theory became popular and solidified when the Business Roundtable flatly stated that the purpose of the organization was to serve shareholders (1997 version).

I think it is in our individual and collective best interest to consider personal resilience.

What can each of us, individually, do to build greater personal resilience?

I think the answer is individual to each of us.

For myself, it’s giving myself more space to think – away from the noise of our world. It’s finding areas of the day to pause and reflect. It’s being discerning about the information and the opportunities that are presented to me and being more mindful about what I commit to.

Simple, not easy.

I think that those who follow the “Millenial way” have it right when it comes to working within today’s environment. At least until we see more evidence that the members of the Business Roundtable and the CEOs and boards that they serve are serious about their new commitment.

No comments: