How To Develop Resilience In Times Of Change

By Don Holley, Managing Director & Transformation Practice Lead

Something stressful happens at work. What do you do?

Do you:

  1. Stick your head in the sand and ignore the problem

  2. Take the bull by the horns and enjoy the ride

  3. Pull your hair out and complain to everyone who’ll listen

Stress and work are two peas in a pod. They go together like cheese and wine.

But have you noticed how some people seem to be able to cope with whatever change comes their way? Others, on the other hand, seem to find it really difficult to move outside their comfort zone…

What separates the two is resilience.

Resilience in a corporate context

Resilience is needed to deal with factors or events that cause stress. So it’s essential for coping with the challenges of work.

What characterises resilient people is that they move forward, deal with change, learn from challenges and emerge strengthened and even more resourceful.

Resilience is good for individuals and organisations.

Rod Warner, author of The Building Resilience Handbook, states there is significant value for organisations that enhance resilience in their workforce. He says resilient people:

  • experience overall more hope, optimism and positivity, so are better able to cope with job demands;

  • are best able to get through tough times at work and at home;

  • are more likely to learn new skills and knowledge when their existing set become outdated;

  • are less likely to become mentally or physically ill during stressful times;

  • turn adversity into a growth experience, and leverage it into new experiences and ways of working and living.

How to develop more resilience

Dr Alan Zimmerman suggests three strategies to build resilience:

  1. Recover

To regain a sense of composure, step back from your new situation for a period. This may mean time out for yourself through exercise or having coffee with someone who will listen to your concerns.

Aim to focus your thoughts on what choices you can make for yourself and, as Dr Zimmerman, says: “What you are willing to accept is what you get”.

  1. Refocus

Take a helicopter view of the change. Reflect on what has happened, why and what it might mean for the organisation and for you.

Identify what is causing your strong feelings. Ask yourself if this will still matter in a year’s time. You have an opportunity to change your mindset towards what is happening now.

In Monkey Business, researchers Wright, Hager and Tyink wrote, “When you change the way you see things, the things you see, change”.

  1. Regenerate

Change is stressful, so you need time to regenerate. Be kind to yourself by getting additional rest, eat well, and avoid overuse of alcohol. Spend more time with positive, encouraging colleagues and friends.

It may require addressing your own self-defeating behaviours. You will recognise your roadblocks in “that’s just the way I am” statements. Changing these habits requires you to be ready, willing and able to make the change stick. So seek support if appropriate.

In conclusion

Some people are naturally resilient. But if you’re not one of them, that’s no reason to despair. Resilience is a skill that can be developed.

And like anything, it takes practice. The more you train yourself to be resilient, the easier it will come. It’s about choosing one mindset over another. I choose to take this in my stride. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a challenging process, but it may just turn out to be extremely rewarding.

How is your mindset helping or hindering you in times of change?

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How To Create An Environment For Change: Self-development Questions Great Leaders Ask Themselves

By Don Holley, Managing Director & Transformation Practice Lead


What do Captain Jack Sparrow and change leaders have in common?

No, it’s not the eye makeup. It’s to do with navigating the seas of change.

In stormy weather, the captain of the ship must pull himself together and get his crew to pull together. Otherwise the ship will end up on the rocks. It’s the same with your change strategy.

You must create a cohesive team environment in times of change and exhibit strong leadership, otherwise you’ll all be heading down to Davy Jones’ Locker. Either that, or you’ll have mutiny on your hands.

Your change strategy thrives (or rots) from the change leader down.

That might sound dramatic, but actually it’s true. And as a leader of change, self-awareness and self-leadership are critical to creating the right environment for success.

Creating an environment for change

It is sometimes uncomfortable to step back and reflect on the environment you create as a leader. However it is essential to understand your impact. This is because people experience you from your behaviour and your actions, not your intentions, thoughts, or feelings.

Douglas McGregor proposed that “the attitudes of managers flow through into their behaviours towards their direct reports and impacts the responses of their direct reports in turn.”

In times of business change, leaders are dealing with their own transition as well as that of their teams. This can make it difficult for leaders to recognise the impact they’re having on others.

Great leaders have the self-awareness and self-leadership to go beyond the difficulties they’re facing themselves, and understand their role in exacerbating their team’s situation.

Self-development questions great leaders ask themselves

To foster mutual confidence and respect, there are three fundamental questions you need to ask yourself. Your answers will drive the aspects of behaviour that underpin the relationship you have with your team:

1. Where do you place your attention?

Your behaviour is the clearest guide that your direct reports have about what’s important and what’s not. Inconsistency causes confusion, which leads to inefficiency, uncertainty and reduced morale.

2. What / how do you reward and discourage?

Productive workplaces are those where there is generous use of subtle encouragements (like showing appreciation and support) in response to strong social and self-esteem needs of direct reports.

3. How do you treat people EVERY day?

Do you have a personal demeanour that indicates respect, emotional self-leadership and sound judgement in your professional interaction with others, regardless of your personal feelings?

(Adapted from: Dr Judith Chapman)

As a leader of change, investigate these questions with yourself honestly. Self-awareness and self-leadership are critical to creating the right environment for successful change. Leaders need to be open to receiving constructive feedback, for their own development and the team’s benefit.

If you’re leading a team or organisation through a change project of any kind, let us know in the comments what underpins your team relationships. Is what you’re currently doing working for you?

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Distracted At Work? Dealing With Corporate Attention Deficit Disorder

By Aaron Dodd, Director

We’ve all seen it.

We know those that have it. You may even be afflicted yourself.

Corporate Attention Deficit Disorder (CADD) is rife in the modern workplace, among individuals and the organizations themselves.

But don’t worry, there are strategies to manage it.

What is Corporate Attention Deficit Disorder (CADD)?

In its simplest form CADD can be seen in those who flit from one task (or corporate fad) to another. They won’t finish it or implement it fully before moving on to the next thing.

The digital revolution has seen a massive increase in CADD in the workplace, as professionals attempt to keep up with the rapidly changing corporate landscape.

Individuals with CADD exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Easily distracted
  • Miss details
  • Forgetful
  • Frequently switch from one activity to another
  • Quick to jump onto the latest fad
  • Have difficulty maintaining focus on one task
  • Bored with a task after only a few minutes
  • Fidgety and restless in meetings
  • Constantly checking their digital devices (likely sufferers of FOMO – fear of missing out)
  • VERY impatient!

Organizations with CADD

CADD will have its most damaging impact if the CEO and/or other executives suffer from it.

Long term strategies are suddenly thrown out in favour of the latest fad, technology offering, or buzzword.

The enterprise suffers, as employees play catch up to the latest campaign message or strategy. Often, there is little attention paid to the relevance of the latest initiative, nor any benefit gained from its implementation.

There is no better cure for corporate attention deficit disorder than a good dose of strategy.” Nick Cowling, HuffPost 

So what’s the cure?

The cure is simple: plan your work and work your plan.

Don’t get caught up in the latest this or that. Just because there’s something new on the market, it doesn’t mean it’s relevant to your organization, audience, or business plan.

Strategy is the basis for everything in business. Recruitment, communications, sales… everything. As Simon Sinek famously advised, “start with why.” And ask yourself that question every time something new comes along.

Why is this useful? Why is this relevant? Why is this worth the time? Why is this beneficial? Why, why, why, why, why.

Your why is the only narrative you must stick to.

Bottom line is, your innovations will have much more impact and much less risk if you build them with your narrative in mind and continue to deliver on why you exist and what you believe.” Nick Cowling, HuffPost 

Don’t get distracted. If you see a colleague going off track, intervene and get them back on the right path. Source outside counsel. Get some perspective.

And if you are a CEO who has CADD, realise the implications it has on your staff. They’ll become rapidly disengaged. The constant change of direction will decrease motivation and productivity.

If you’re choosing a new course, understand and communicate why you’re doing so. Be strategic when making your moves. Spend time to make them work and measure their success. THEN, and only then, should you start to make new ones.

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Contingent Vs. Retained Recruitment: What’s The Difference?

If you’ve ever outsourced your recruitment, you may have been surprised to find that there isn’t simply one way to do it.

I often find myself outlining the different ways for clients, so they can make an informed decision about what will best suit them.

Usually, it’s a tale of two options: contingent vs. retained recruitment. And having worked in both fields, I am well placed to comment.

What is contingent recruitment?

When I worked as a contingent recruiter, it constantly felt like a race. Or a battle. The flick and stick. The push and shove for fantastic candidates to fill speculative roles. You cross your fingers and toes, avoid ladders, broken mirrors and black cats, in the hope of getting paid for the work you’ve done.

This is the world of a contingent sales recruiter, and it is tough. The pressure to make something out of nothing is great, the activity levels are high, and the culture is cut throat.

Contingency is sometimes described as No Win, No Fee (or even No Cure, No Pay). It is what it says on the tin, a service performed by a recruitment company for free until the day a candidate represented by them takes a position with their client.” The Undercover Recruiter 

Working on a non-exclusive competitive contingent assignment, is often working for free!

Working this way is how the recruitment industry got the reputation of “throwing CV’s against a wall”. That’s because this way of working means that the recruiter has to be quick – do a quick database search and get as many CV’s that look OK to the client.” Beaumont Wood

What is retained recruitment?

At Mindset, I’ve learned that retained recruitment involves selling from the beginning. You offer your professional service to a client and ask to be paid upfront for the hard work you are about to undertake.

The research, mapping, screening, interviewing, testing, references, and last but not least, the general management and constant sales within the process, ensures the client gets a candidate for the role that will deliver the right results.

This all takes a considerable amount of time and effort, for which, as a professional, you should be paid.

Coming from years of contingent recruitment, adapting to retained was a daunting task. The calls are cold, the conversations are at a much higher level, and the sales cycle is slow.

Where once the aim of a meeting was to walk away with the sniff of a job, it is now to develop a long term relationship with the client, to understand their business, people and culture. To have a good level of engagement with your client and understand its offering, so that when a vacancy arises, you’re ideally placed to fill it.

The verdict

Contingent vs. retained recruitment: the difference between the two models is now clear to me.

With retained work you must sell yourself, the recruitment company and its process. The sale is up-front and it’s something you have control of and believe in.

With contingency, you sell candidates to clients and jobs to candidates. And everyone else is trying to sell the same candidate to your client and others! It’s survival of the fittest. Only the fleetest of foot will survive.

Give me a retainer every time! I get paid and clients get better candidates. Win-Win!

The retained recruiter takes their time to get things right using processes and agreed methodology, knowing they will eventually fill the position thanks to their exclusivity terms. The contingency recruiter will be a lot quicker and most probably deliver more candidates to increase the odds of making a placement.

Another difference is that the retained recruiter has signed up to a service level, sometimes a retained search can be challenging and these projects can be rather lengthy. The contingency recruiter will simply move on to another vacancy or client where they believe they can get a more straightforward win.” The Undercover Recruiter

For all the extra time and skill that retained assignments take, every second is worth it both for me as the recruiter and also for the client. Less anxiety for me. More time to do a great job. A better candidate for the client. Happier people all round.

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