Why Taking Risks Makes You Resilient

As of this writing, vaccines have started to roll out around the globe.  It’s more than a glimmer of hope for millions who have been waiting for a layer of protection versus Covid-19. With it, comes such optimism for recovery.  How to emerge unscathed after the pandemic is in the forefront of everyone’s minds. And if isn’t too much to ask, maybe a homecoming to what we’ve always known as “normal”.

The pandemic caused a severe global economic crisis, producing a depression in some countries, and a recession in others.  It’s touted to be the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression.  It subtly began with abrupt government restrictions and lockdowns to contain the spread.  No end in sight just yet.  While the objective was noble, efforts to keep Covid-19 in control caused stock markets to crash, businesses to close, and millions out of work.

By September 2020, however, consumer activity picked up.  We saw businesses permanently close, but we also saw organizations (of varying sizes) thrive.

How to emerge unscathed after the pandemic. How did they manage?

In a previous article, Bringing Employees On Board to Champion Change, I listed 5 traits that successful corporation organizations, who survived a recession, had in common.  Culled from a year-long study by The Harvard Business Review (HBR), strategies and performance of corporate organizations from the past three recessions were carefully evaluated.  Here’s what they found:

  • Leaders were transparent (communicated effectively and often to all employees) and took care in how they downsized to cut costs…saving jobs and livelihoods.
  •  Leaders invested more than their rivals on marketing, assets, and R&D to position themselves for growth coming out of a recession.
  • Organizations refined systems to operate more efficiently. They took a long hard look at standard procedures, streamlined processes, and cut the fat from operations.
  • Boards of Directors placed the right leaders in the right seats. Individuals with leadership skill sets bring emotional intelligence and intuitive applications to the table for a successful change effort. Change execution requires high levels of strategic communications that is driven from the c-suite down and from the front line up.
  • Employees were empowered to champion change. When company cultures are progressive, employees are empowered to make day-to-day decisions about their work, how it is accomplished, and to correct problems when they see them.

The HBR study said that these 5 characteristics all involve change within the organizational structure to survive and then eventually thrive coming out of the recession. Not surprisingly, these 5 characteristics continue to be relevant today.

Employees of companies involved in the above study were found to have championed change instead of resisting it. The result brought cohesion to the organization and provided just the right momentum to carry forward.  This isn’t too far off from the hit we all took in 2020.

How did progressive companies emerge from the pandemic?

Those with progressive company cultures (such as those who embraced remote work way before the pandemic made it a necessity) had a shorter learning curve than those who were doing it for the first time.   Companies that have evolved (converting to a fully digital platform or shifted to more relevant and responsive products and services) avoided retrenchment.  And some even managed to scale their business.

When I come across organizations and individuals who have managed to acclimatize to the new environment, I think of Agile companies.  Agile companies are defined as companies that can quickly adapt to change.  They are likely open to new ways of operating – thus giving them a leg up in meeting customer needs. Agile companies are an irrepressible and resilient lot. And, although Agile has been equated with software development, it applies to any organization that taps the intelligence of cross-functional teams  to solve complex organizational problems – such as how to emerge unscathed after the pandemic. This includes the problem solving and discussion on how to emerge more collaboratively with a more engaged workforce.

It all boils down to resilience and grit.  Resilience and agility have clearly been prerequisites for businesses to survive the pandemic.  It’s true for everyone in any industry – from startups to mature organizations.

But what does being resilient mean?

Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting and thriving in the face of adversity.  It’s being able to adjust despite tragedy, trauma, stress, and threat – health problems, financial stressors, workplace, relationship issues … and most significantly, a pandemic.

Not surprisingly, resilience is closely related to taking risks.  Risk is the fifth TIGERS® principle required for high-performance teamwork. It’s a must for building a culture of cooperation.  (click on the link to learn more about the 6 TIGERS® Principles.)

Taking risks is taking an action that can result in either growth or loss and learning.  The flip side of risk is reward.

When the pandemic broke out, it was risky to even “move”. Continuing any economic activity (a small business, for instance), meant having to take a loss to survive (rent and salaries).  But closing the business was likewise a risk and a loss.

In a perpetually changing-environment, adapting to change is also a risk. (Will this work? What if it doesn’t?  What if this is all for naught, after investing time and resources?) 

Guess who survived 2020?

That’s right.  Those who managed to keep afloat  (and by this we mean, simply making it through. Profit, not necessary.) are:

  • Those who made themselves relevant;
  • Organizations with employees who are excited and passionate about solving problems and don’t shy away from unusual ways and means of doing so.

In brief, those who survived were those who took a chance – those who took risks. And those who brought employees into conversations with bottom up solutions for post pandemic recovery and how to work more cooperatively and collaboratively once hiring begins again.

Keep in mind that risk-taking and resilience go hand in hand.  Often, there is little time for thorough decision-making process.  But to survive organizations have to act quickly.  To act quickly, you have to build the RIGHT TEAM to solve pressing issues on a daily basis.

As the pandemic has shown, it is the only way to keep the company moving forward in times like these. Let’s keep this conversation going HERE!  Strengthen your organization’s momentum by harnessing collaborative team dynamics.

Care to dig deeper into how to emerge unscathed after the pandemic

The following articles and training resources enhance this conversation and your learning:

Copyright TIGERS Success Series, Inc. by Dianne Crampton

About TIGERS Success Series

TIGERS provides a comprehensive, multi-pronged and robust system for improving your workforce behavior, work culture, profitability and project management and team leadership success.

We specialize in building cooperation among employees and collaboration between departments for profitable, agile, and high performance team outcomes.  Scaled to  grow as your organization and leadership performance improves, our proprietary TIGERS Workforce Behavior Profile, Micro-Training technology and group facilitation methods result in your high performance team outcomes and change management success. We also license and certify elite internal and external consultants and project managers to use our resources for similar outcomes.

Here is a complimentary 30 minute webinar on the TIGERS 6 Principles. Course Certificate for Completion.