Building a Resilient Organizational Culture

The saying “change is the only constant” seems like an understatement these days. Whether it’s due to economic pressures, corporate mergers, technological innovation, or natural disasters, most of us are increasingly faced with big change. If you are a leader today, you are probably looking at how you can build a resilient organization – one that has the capacity to successfully flow through any disruption and challenges that come your way. How can you develop a culture that sees change as an opportunity for growth?

I recently read the article “Building a Resilient Organizational Culture” by George S. Everly, Jr. PhD, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Everly discusses how organizations can develop a culture of resilience, just like individuals can learn to develop personal traits of resilience. It got me thinking about how important it is for leaders to model resilient behavior for their employees.

According to Dr. Everly, when a small number of high credibility individuals demonstrate the behaviors associated with resilience, they can change an entire culture of an organization as others replicate these resilient characteristics. Frontline leaders can serve as a catalyst to “tip” an organization in the direction of resilience by demonstrating optimism, decisiveness, integrity, and open communications.

I like Dr. Everly’s belief that optimism and self-efficacy can be learned in an organization if we:

  • understand that people prosper from success
  • remember that people learn while observing others
  • provide encouragement, support, and even mentoring
  • provide basic training in how to manage personal stress

Let’s remember to nourish and demonstrate our own flexibility, positive thinking, confidence and authenticity to help create resilience both within our organizations and in the world!