Live with Vivian Blade, Resilience Ready

What Does It Take to Be Resilience Ready?

Burnout and stress are at all-time highs. In what has been dubbed The Great Resignation, more than 47 million people quit their jobs in 2021. Not only are more and better opportunities available, but a global study by Oracle and Workplace Intelligence found that 78% of employees reported that their mental health was negatively impacted by the pandemic. Half of the workers say they’re experiencing burnout. What can business leaders do to stem the mass exodus of workers and attract or retain the top talent it needs? How can they assure they have the right leaders in place? Vivian Blade, author of #1 Amazon best-selling book, Resilience Ready: The Leader’s Guide to Thriving Through Unrelenting Crises, joins Geeks Geezers Googlization on this episode to unpack what needs to be done to thrive in these Never-Normal times.

Who is Vivian Blade?

Vivian Blade author and “Talent Management Expert” has been working with companies to build a solid sustainable leadership pipeline. She is hot off the heels of writing her book Resilience Ready: The Leader’s Guide to Thriving Through Unrelenting Crisis, ranked as a number one Amazon best selling book. In this episode of Geeks, Geezers, Googlization, Blade dives into what led her to the topic of resilience. Surprisingly, she started writing the book prior to the pandemic to showcase how humans navigate through challenging crossroads in their lives. As the pandemic progressed, her writing gaining more meaning as millions of people struggled and felt overwhelmed. She wanted to create resources for HR professionals who were trying to lead employees through the uncertainty of the pandemic.

How do Adversity, Challenges and Resilience Connect?

It is not major crises that require us to be resilience but the small day to day disruptions that occur in our lives and within a business. Blade uses these past few months as an example of the day to day adversity we face. While recording this episode, “some people can’t show up today because of the ice storm we’re literally going through right now.” (Blade, 00:12:53). Business plans get disrupted. Work doesn’t get done. Workers don’t get paid. Customers don’t get their products or service. Business leaders must do everything possible to build team and organizational resilience. Blade, however, emphasizes that resilience alone isn’t the holy grail but an essential ingredient of “adaptability,” which includes other essential skills such as grit and growth mindset.

Do Organizations Feel Resilience is Their Responsibility?

Because resilience is a key factor in helping employees and teams realize their potential, every organization needs a plan. Resilience won’t happen on its own. But co-host Jason Cochran wonders if some organizations might pushback, asking if helping employees be resilience ready is their responsibility. Blade responds, “organizations are experiencing first hand the fact [how a lack of resilience] impacts them. They have a role to play in the mental health challenges [workers face] because we can’t separate our personal lives from what we bring to work” (Blade, 00:17:01). Blade shared a firsthand experience from one of her mentee’s struggling to focus on her work because of personal problems. It not only extracted a personal toll but negatively impacted her company’s bottom line and productivity. It is vital for organizations to offer the resources that help their employees be productive in today’s never-normal environment.

Getting Past the Stigma of Using EAP?

What can organizations do to create such a safe environment for employees that they aren’t afraid or embarassed to ask for help and use avaiable mental health resources? Admittedly se EAP, Employee Assistance Programs) differ from company to company. But the one thing that is the same is that often times workers feel their is a stigma associated with asking for help, especially when it involved mental health benefits. Blade encourages HR professionals to ensure a process for safe and confidential communication with employees and to explain the benefits.. Co-host-Jason Cochran cited a Deloitte study that just shows how fearful employees are to talk about their mental health: “Deloitte did a study in 2021 and found that nearly half of senior level executives were concerned about admitting the mental health challenges they were experiencing.” (Cochran, 00:21:27). More than 80% of senior leaders report a level of exhaustion typical of burnout risk. And 51% say they’re considering leaving.

What Are The Five P’s?

After years of research to prepare for her book Resilience Ready: The Leader’s Guide to Thriving Through Unrelenting Crisis, Blade identified five basic principles that shape and drive resiliency:Perspective, Purpose, Perseverance, Partnership and Praise.

Perspective is all about how you see things and adopt an optimistic outlook. Blade says “adopting that optimistic outlook helps set the stage for moving forward” (Blade, 00:32:09)

Purpose is our meaning and what gives us meaningful work each and every day. Blade says “Sometimes in the midst of a crisis or a challenge our purpose shifts to some degree because of the needs of the workplace.” (Blade, 00:32:29)

Perseverance “is really about how we establish capacity to be able to be resilient, to be able to work through the challenges that we face.” (Blade, 00:33:00). A key to perseverance is to make sure you’re taking care of yourself physically and mentally to avoid burnout.

Partnership is “how we connect with each other to make sure we’re supporting our employees and we ourselves are reaching out as we have a need to make sure we’re not staying insulated.” (Blade, 00:33:38)

Praise is how “we recognize the effort and the progress people are making.” (Blade, 00:34:27)

Blade does recognize being able to fulfill these principles will not be completed overnight. It is a process, guided by the internal crisis response stages. To figure out which stage your organization or team is at you can take the “Resilience Ready Assessment.”