Leading Resilience and Wellbeing

Leading Resilience and Wellbeing

How to communicate solutions with clarity

Imagine your team in a meeting with a consultant is pitching a wellbeing solution. The consultant may be a doctor, nurse, psychologist, neuroscientist or lay person. They will present what they think is “wellbeing”, “resilience”, “psychological safety”, “mental health” or many other labels. Seldom do they define what they mean.

What would you hear in the minds of your team?

  • Health & Safety Rep: “This might protect people from covid-19.”
  • Human Resources: “This can help us reduce virtual work stress issues.”
  • Training manager: “So this is psychological safety”
  • Operations manager: “Let’s toughen up our non-performers.”
  • CFO: “We are already spending $2,000 a month on ‘health’ insurance.”
  • CEO: “This has nothing to do with business performance, but we need to reassure the board on mental health.”

We have little insight into how people process the concept. The focus might be depression, anxiety, bullying, keto diets, exercise, sleep, stress, resilience, emotional intelligence or mental skills. The problem is compounded by a confused research agenda and limited research on the business benefit (ROI).

Here is an approach that has helped us make sense of this confusing topic. Our recommendation is that service providers and leaders take some time to clarify their thinking and communication. There are many legitimate explanations.

The goal is to encourage you to be clear in your thinking and precise in the language you use. Most importantly define the meaning of the words you use.

Sick, Healthy or Well

We operate in a massive, interconnected and reinforcing crisis that is in effect a SICKNESS SYSTEM. The way we live our lives, the products we sell to each other, and distress (physical, emotional and mental) we tolerate make us sick. Preventable diseases – specifically heart disease, diabetes, obesity, anxiety and depression – continue to increase globally crushing the lives of individuals, compromising productivity, and costing us all a fortune.

Unfortunately, the players in the sickness system benefit from more disease and desperation. Industries behind insurance, cure provision, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, guns and administrators have little interest in reform. Globally it is predicted to be worth USD $8.8 trillion in 2021.

Health is perhaps the absence of disease. We have the knowledge and tools to prevent about 75% of disease – physical, emotional and mental. If we successfully prevent disease, we have a HEALTHCARE SYSTEM. We spend less than 3% of our health budgets on prevention.

WELLBEING is a state of physical, emotional (and social), mental, and spiritual vitality. Life is aligned and feels good. Energy (physical), pleasure (emotional) and realistic optimism (mental) are abundant. Even when we are unwell or suffer serious setback, we are able to access our wellbeing to bounce forward and continue our growth and connection – RESILIENCE.

How to reduce confusion, paradox and conflict?

Be clear as to whether you mean sickness care, health care or wellbeing (or resilience). For example, New Zealand made quite a show of launching a wellbeing budget of NZD $500 million and promptly dumped it all into treating mental illness. Lipstick on a pig. In the US, sickness is so expensive to treat that people will compromise on their careers, entrepreneurship and wellbeing to secure insurance. With employers spending $2,000 a month on “sickness” insurance, it is no wonder they baulk at spending $5 a month on a proven wellbeing or resilience programme.

Develop a coherent concept to embrace a proposed solution. Don’t be seduced by simple, part solutions. Mature employers now have multiple operating solutions – mental health, safety, health, insurance, wellbeing, mindfulness, EQ, mental skills, resilience, EAP, sleep, and engagement. This is expensive, confusing and de-motivating. Each one has its own language, budgets and territorial owners.

Be precise on whether you are mitigating risk – depression, anxiety, substance abuse, diabetes or high blood pressure – or building strengths – fitness, sleep benefits, clarity under pressure, emotional agility, empathy or mental skills. Define the costs and the benefits to the people involved and the business. For example, sleep disturbance is estimated to cost business ~ USD $2,000 per person per year. Can you show evidence of how the intervention will improve sleep – say 25% – and demonstrate how that would save $500 per person per year.

Articulate clearly where responsibility lies. Views are split between total individual responsibility and total employer responsibility. This is not helpful. It is always a shared responsibility. Both individual and employer have a duty of care. Be precise about what you expect from individuals and what you are prepared to contribute as an organisation.

This trap that can cause conflict.  Take depression for example. You promote positivity or mental skills (CBT) which have good evidence. A depressed individual has been told that it is an imbalance of chemicals caused by genetics and that the only solution is anti-depressant medication. Then you get a grievance that your bullying triggered the depression. Messy!

Be sensitive to physical, emotional, mental and spiritual perspectives. We are moving into a biological age where objective signs (blood tests or brain scans) are being matched to physical, emotional and mental experiences.

Take anxiety for example. It is described as a mental illness, yet nothing is seen on brain scans. We observe clearly the presence of excess and persisting fear emotions. We also observe that heart rate, blood pressure, adrenaline and cortisol have increased. From a biological perspective, anxiety is a sustained flight reaction. It is a physical state of being. Should we treat with a potent anxiolytic medicine or teach the person to breathe slowly?

Psychologists in particular must watch for thinking traps and be precise. No-one has yet seen a psyche. If our approach and investment in mental illness was sound, mental illness would be in decline, not accelerating.

Spiritual wellbeing must be handled gently. Perceptions are most diverse here and a challenge can be taken seriously.

Finally, there are no quick solutions. An app, webinar or workshop will not solve the problem. Preventing sickness and building wellbeing (or resilience) take years of deliberate attention, practice and reinforcement. The medical paradigm lets us believe that the drug, the surgery or the procedure will solve the problem.

Just as you continuously invest in improving your logistics or digital marketing, so health, wellbeing and resilience is an ongoing journey. Clear definitions, precise language, integration of concepts, patience and tenacity can truly transform your people, your culture, your brand and your productivity.

How to Master the Top 5 Challenges Facing Leaders Today

How to Master the Top 5 Challenges Facing Leaders Today

Originally published on www.resiliencei.com and reproduced with permission.
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According to a Forbes article published at the onset of the COVID pandemic, people leaders across all industries are facing similar challenges for their teams and themselves. Using the Resilience Institute’s combination of Bounce, Grow, Connect and Flow, leaders and employees alike can learn the essential skills required to thrive in an uncertain and changing environment.

But first, what do Bounce, Grow, Connect and Flow mean when discussing resilience?

The ability to Bounce means to recognise resilience failure and to regain optimal function. In other words, when you aren’t operating at optimal performance, bounce is detecting what is happening and committing to getting yourself back on track.

We Grow when we look after ourselves mentally and physically via self-care, adopting and maintaining positive habits that permeate throughout our personal and professional lives. Ensuring good sleep and a healthy diet helps to give us a positive outlook, which translates into staying calm under pressure, countering negative thoughts and reducing impulsivity.

When we Connect we enter a state of union, be it a physical, emotional, cognitive or spiritual connection. With ourselves, others or even with nature, Connection is a powerful skill in the resilience toolkit that allows us to have heightened emotional intelligence (EQ), empathy and self-awareness.

We enter the Flow state when we have a strong concept of effective, engaging and skilful responses to challenges. In Flow you are “in the zone” and have deep focus, achieving optimal performance and situational agility. Like top athletes who get “into the zone” when competing, the Flow state sees us operating at our peak.

HOW DO I BALANCE BEING AN INSPIRATIONAL AND COMFORTING LEADER WHILE CONTINUING TO PUSH ON PERFORMANCE?

Connect and Flow. It’s essential that your team know and trust that you are empathetic to their individual circumstances, whether you front a team of one or one thousand. Empathy and Emotional Literacy are two facets of connection that all great leaders possess. Combined with Flow, you can practice Situational Awareness and Agility that lead to optimal performance. Some days are harder than others and if your team feels safe knowing that they won’t be punished on difficult days where they aren’t as productive, they will work to make up the productivity on their better days. It’s a balance of give and take, of trust and of Connect and Flow.

HOW CAN I RESPOND TO COUNTLESS QUESTIONS FROM MANAGERS AND FRONTLINE WORKERS WHEN NO CLEAR ANSWERS EXIST?

Bounce. Reduced revenue, reduced working schedules, redundancies. Some industries have been hit harder than others but very few companies have been immune to some sort of reductions. No one can have all the answers but it is possible to instill confidence in others even when you don’t know what’s around the corner. Tactical Calm helps people understand that panic and anxiety are not the only options in uncertain times. Just like how fear can easily spread from one person to the next, so too can calm radiate throughout the team. Even if events do have less than ideal outcomes, Tactical Calm and Bounce show your resilience.

HOW DO I MAINTAIN MY VISIBILITY AND INFLUENCE IN THE ORGANISATION WITH LIMITED INTERACTION OPPORTUNITIES?

Grow and Flow. By adopting a Growth Mindset and building a comprehensive Personal Plan you can be prepared for the interactions and opportunities that arise, regardless of whether they are in person, in a virtual meeting or over email. Just like how if you think of a red car you begin to see red cars everywhere (called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon or Frequency Illusion), if you prepare yourself for opportunities, visibility and influence then you start to see those chances arise and confidently step into them.

HOW DO I CONTINUE BUILDING MY PERSONAL BRAND WITHIN THE COMPANY WITHOUT APPEARING SELF-CENTRED?

Flow. By finding your Optimal Performance and understanding Situational Awareness you can continue your personal development while still being empathetic of others. Personal success and emotional intelligence are not at odds with each other but are intricately linked. Equally, by demonstrating an ability to deliver on your objectives during times of turmoil can be an inspiration to others.

HOW CAN I KEEP MY TEAM ENGAGED WHILE WORKING REMOTELY?

Resilience training. Bounce, Grow, Connect and Flow are greater than the sum of their parts and a resilient team is one who collectively works together in all areas. With the right training, entire teams can help each other stay engaged and supported no matter what is thrown at them. What’s more, a team that has collectively gone through resiliency training together can use that common ground to remind and support one another with best practices.

Founded in 2002, The Resilience Institute has been training people and corporations Bounce, Grow, Connect and Flow by bringing together modern preventative medicine, positive psychology, emotional intelligence, and neuroscience. By delivering high impact, practical, evidence-based and integrated Resilience training, clients have built healthier bodies, achieved greater levels of emotional intelligence and have developed stronger minds, bringing their tremendous performance benefits of resilience to work.

Now with an app available on Android, iOS and the web, users can measure, learn and achieve their resilience goals from anywhere. With micro-learning video and audio sessions, daily goal tracker and an AI-powered chatbot, resilience training has never been more available.

How to Lead and Support Remote Work

How to Lead and Support Remote Work

Originally published on www.resiliencei.com and reproduced with permission
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Covid-19 has catapulted us into a strange new world of work. Many of your people are working from home. The initial novelty is wearing off. Business and team leaders wrestle with how to lead and motivate. People leaders wonder how to support people, manage risk and continue learning and development.

A New Reality Presents

Those of us thrust into remote work wrestle with family boundaries, find our daily routines upside down, and discover that sustained self-motivation is tricky indeed. We are confronted with rethinking how home can operate as a workplace. How do we maintain our team connections? How do we engage effectively through virtual meetings? Do we even want to continue to work like this?

Remote work has been creeping up on us with a boom in digital tools. The current crisis has accelerated the transition. As the cost savings to business become clear, remote work is becoming an inevitability. There are significant benefits. Office costs will fall, commuting time and frustration has collapsed, and the call for “work-life balance” has been answered. We are sorting through a messy transition. We are heading into the unknown.

The Risks of Remote Work

We are still coming to terms with the risks. Four present clearly:

  • Most homes are not designed for remote work. We work in bedrooms, try to focus amidst family activities, and negotiate the temptations of the kitchen and Netflix.
  • Our daily rhythms and transitions are upended. One can get lost in the dramas of home life and challenged relationships or sit for hours in front of a screen. Maintaining sleep, exercise, relaxation and work rhythms is even more testing. The discrete breaks of daily commutes, meetings, coffee breaks and office activity are no more.
  • The emotional connection, support and motivation provided by our work community has been replaced by virtual calls. Many feel isolated and lonely. The buzz of the human marketplace cannot be replaced by digital interaction. A sense of meaning will be hard to sustain without the messy physicality of human interaction.
  • The natural interactions of leadership, teaming and coaching as we move in and out of work tasks, have gone. Many remote workers will end up confused, overloaded or misguided. Leaders face deep questions as to how well they are providing direction, support and autonomy. Some may overperform and fatigue. Others may disengage and lose themselves in distractions – or worse.

Immediate challenges for Leadership

  1. What is the role of the business in helping people create productive workspaces at home?
  2. What should leaders do to make sure people are safe, healthy and well?
  3. What is the responsibility of leaders to support productive and resilient life rhythms?
  4. How do we train people for effective virtual presentation, empathy and influence?
  5. How do we rebuild leadership, teaming and coaching in virtual teams?
  6. What will training look like in a virtual and digital environment?

Opening up a laptop at home is the easy part. The hard part will be finding our way through these six questions. As the acute phase of Covid-19 settles, people leaders will need to make time to address and meet these challenges. It is going to be an interesting and creative advance into novelty.

We share offer some early thoughts and support here:

Webinar: Staying well while working remotely

Webinar: Staying well while working remotely

Some of the topics covered include:

  • How can people stay well during the lockdown? We discuss sleep, exercise, diet.
  • What are some skills that can help families at home? We discuss maintaining boundaries, impulse control.
  • How can people stay productive at home, if they are able to work remotely? We talk about environment, rhythm, focus, monotasking.
  • Have you seen examples of remote working going well? What are companies doing?
  • As a leader, how can I motivate and inspire my remote team?
  • What can companies do to support people remotely? We discuss training and communication.

Infographic: Staying well during the lockdown

Download the above infographic.

A Good Life: Science and Practice

A Good Life: Science and Practice

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Originally published on www.resiliencei.com and reproduced with permission.

How people bounce, grow, connect and flow

Our life is a blaze of consciousness in an eternity of emptiness. Behind us is 13.8 billion years of an expanding universe. Ahead may be 2.8 (or more) billion years. Human life is a fraction of a billionth of time. So short and so precious. So meaningless and yet so real.

The transcendentals since the time of Plato have been Truth (science or logic), Beauty (arts or aesthetics) and Goodness (religion or ethics).

In 2018 we are poised on an unsettling edge. On one hand, there has never been a better time to be alive. We are healthier, living longer, richer, educated, and enjoying life in a way unimaginable to previous generations (see Enlightenment Now, Stephen Pinker, 2018). On the other, population pressure is consuming and cooking the planet. Social withdrawal, anxiety and depression continue to push one in four into mindless suffering.

In a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world that keeps accelerating, we feel like we are clinging on. Some have given up, let go and feel disenfranchised (see Yuval Noah Harari TedTalk). Harari says belief in the global economy multiplied by liberal democracy has collapsed. Today, more people die from eating too much than from starvation. More people kill themselves than are killed by wars, crime and terrorism combined. The current prescriptions are not working.

 

We need a new story.

The Resilience Institute is delighted to release our 2018 Global Resilience Report. Our purpose is to help people bounce, grow, connect and flow. We aim to reduce suffering and enhance the physical, emotional and cognitive experience of life.

In this report, we explore measures of resilience in 21,239 people and see what changes after an intervention. We posed six questions based on 3,963 people who completed an assessment before and after resilience training interventions:

1. Can we bounce from distress and reduce suffering?

Depressed symptoms reduce by an average of 30% (29-86%)
Distress symptoms reduce by an average of 32% (28-82%)
Key improvements in insomnia, self-doubt, self-critical, stress symptoms and hostility

2. Can we learn to be calm, present and alert?

Stress mastery improves by 33.3% (27-70%) lead by relaxation and presence

3. Can we improve our physical wellbeing?

Physical wellbeing scores improve by 46.9% lead by improvements in health awareness, fitness, sleep quality and nutrition

4. Can we develop emotional skills and empathy?

Emotional intelligence scores improve by 25.3% lead by assertiveness, empathy, and emotional insight

5. Can we train our minds and make better decisions?

Cognitive scores improve by 35% lead by optimism, decisiveness, agility, and focus

6. Can we find fulfilment, connection and flow in work?

Noble aspirations such as compassion, purpose, fulfilment and flow increase this category score by 29.6%

Download the 2018 Global Resilience Report.

We will leave you to take your time exploring the full report and the data. In short, small and practical steps in the right direction secure a massive impact. On average the resilience ratio of participants before and after an intervention improved by 38% on our growth ratio.

We are hugely proud of our clients, their leaders and our teams. We have made a difference to human life. Suffering has been alleviated. People are growing at physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual levels.

Further, when people are resilient they take better care of others and make wiser decisions in life, business and nature.

Using an evidence-based approach (The True), an integral model (The Good) and an aspiring vision for the possibility of being human (The Beautiful), we are making a small steps toward a good life.

 

A good life is inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Bertrand Russell