Resilience & the MBA: part 2

 In my last blog, ‘Resilience and the MBA – part 1,’ I talked about what resilience is, how it can be related to an MBA. Now I want to continue this conversation.

Sensible and sensitive MBAs
Resilience occurs when you differentiate between controllable and uncontrollable events.

Lack of resilience occurs when resources are directed into pursuing the uncontrollable. This then means desired results won’t be achieved, which leads to anger and frustration.

Resilience can be enhanced by accepting the chosen path may not the desired result. A sub optimal outcome is accepted instead, such as taking a different action that has the potential to get the desired result. In this sense, it is always about the reaction to events.

Resilience is not about avoidance. It’s about accepting stuff happens, and dealing with it appropriately. The definition of dealing with it appropriately is underpinned by the prevailing belief system, values, and culture of the CEO and the organisation as a whole.

The MBA, teams, and resilience
Here are some further thoughts when we talk about management and leadership in terms of resilience.

1. Path of least resilience - Teams under stress get the least resilient ‘cracks’ first. MBAs should have some form of emotional antennae to see how close the least resilient is to succumbing to pressure. This can be seen through individual behaviour, inconsistency, and unreliability in the team.

2. Sensitivity contagion – Other members of the team will see the least resilient people need support. The leader must ensure the team remains on task, while encouraging support. This implies it is the team’s decisions about how to best support sensitive team members. If not carefully controlled, the lack of team resilience can become an epidemic.

3. Resilience and time – Leaders need to have the awareness, agility, and ability to cope with deadlines regarding individual members of the team, as each individual is different. Leaders can allocate duties depending on how well, and quickly and individual works.

4. Task Management – The desired outcome is a conversation teams should have at the beginning of a project, and carry the dialogue on throughout.

5. Sacrifice – Sacrifices are inevitable, and MBAs need to have this difficult conversation.

6. Honesty – Individuals also have to admit when they are feeling the strain.

7. Response – When circumstances are challenging, teams must not fall into the trap of ‘learned helplessness’ or seek to blame. Instead, they must have a conversation about ‘what do we do now.’ Different teams will react in different ways, but leaders must not hesitate to bring in additional help if they are stuck.

Resilience is moving the sustainability debate along. Such advantages are at best temporary. MBAs that understand the resources at their disposal will make appropriate responses, and build resilience into their behaviour. These MBAs will have a better chance of survival.