In a meeting

20 years ago, there was no such thing as Google. While you may have “asked Jeeves,” there weren’t many services providing instant answers to all of your questions.

Nine years ago, Uber and Lyft didn’t exist. Calling a cab was the primary option if you didn’t want to drive or take public transportation.

And, only eight years ago, businesses had few options when making sales on the go without mobile payment services like Square.

Times have changed rapidly in the past two decades, and this pace isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon. As leaders manage disruption in their industries, they need to build company cultures that are adaptable and can bounce back from new developments inside and outside of their organizations.

It’s important that leaders consider how they can strengthen organizational resiliency, which is defined as a company’s ability to anticipate, prepare for, respond to and adapt to incremental change and sudden disruptions in order to thrive.

As you work to foster resiliency, I encourage you to review these tips from the American Psychology Association (APA):

  1. Make connections
  2. Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems
  3. Accept that change is part of living
  4. Move toward your goals
  5. Take decisive actions
  6. Look for opportunities for self-discovery
  7. Nurture a positive view of yourself
  8. Keep things in perspective
  9. Maintain a hopeful outlook
  10. Take care of yourself

While these concepts are geared towards individual resiliency, they can be readily applied to organizational cultures as well. Using the APA’s models, here are some steps you can take to create a culture that embraces change within your team, division or company while speaking to each Emergenetics® Attribute.

Make connections

Building strong relationships among employees improves your organization’s ability to navigate change. Tap into the Social Attribute to help staff connect, and consider hosting larger company gatherings or events to engage those with a preference for third-third Expressiveness and encourage one-on-one time or mentorship programs to support those with a preference for first-third Expressiveness.

Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems and maintain a hopeful outlook

The way you talk about change can determine whether your people are inspired to take action or become fearful. Be mindful of how you discuss disruption inside and outside of your organization, taking care to speak in a way that is motivating and positive.

Simple language changes, like using the word “and” in place of “but,” can help your employees have a positive mindset when presented with an obstacle. Dr. Geil Browning, Emergenetics CEO and Founder, shares more of these tips in her blog on the Language of Grace. I encourage you to consider your language and encourage staff to use positive terms to support organizational resiliency.

Accept that change is part of living

At Emergenetics, we often talk about embracing the scratchy, which means to step outside of your comfort zone. And, what is scratchier than change?

To make accepting change part of your culture, start by speaking up when you are engaged in a challenging situation or are trying to do something differently. Be open about your personal discomfort and how you manage it. Then, encourage other leaders and team members to share their challenges. By making it part of your team and company culture to step outside of your comfort zone, navigating change becomes easier, as it simply becomes part of life.

Move toward your goals

Set realistic, actionable goals to chip away at change initiatives. Rather than only explaining what the vision looks like (which may motivate those with a Conceptual preference), start by establishing realistic, bite-sized goals for your organization. Then, help employees set personal action plans to support them in reaching the larger objective over time. Using this approach helps all employees navigate change, and it especially connects with those employees who have Structural or first-third Assertive preferences.

Take decisive actions

Decisiveness will likely speak to those with a third-third preference for Assertiveness as well as those with Concrete thinking preferences, and it is important for every employee. By taking action, individuals begin to leave behind the stress they may feel over change and move towards the desired end state. Set the tone by initiating behavioral changes from leadership, and by encouraging employees to create their own goals, they begin to take action themselves.

Look for opportunities for self-discovery and nurture a positive view of yourself

As your organization adapts to change initiatives, it is a great opportunity for employees to gain self-awareness and grow as individuals. One way to do so is to use the Emergenetics Profile to help team members understand their preferences and recognize their strengths. By celebrating the gifts that come from each Thinking and Behavioral Attribute, employees foster a more positive view of themselves. To successfully navigate the change, encourage staff to work through their strengths as revealed by the Profile.

Keep things in perspective

Remember that when changes cause stress, it is a short-term challenge. Help your organization tap into Analytical and Conceptual preferences by focusing on the big picture, considering why the change is important and imagining how the future state will benefit the company as a whole as well as each employee. Doing so will help your organization keep things in perspective and become more resilient.

Take care of yourself

In the midst of change, self-care is especially important. Speaking as someone with a first-third preference for Flexibility, it takes a while to recover from change.

By creating a culture where employees are encouraged to look after themselves, you support everyone through change. When you see a team member feel stress, encourage them to take a walk or try a breathing exercise. These small actions go a long way in establishing a resilient culture.

One final suggestion I have to build organizational resiliency is to consider each Emergenetics preference when building a plan to successfully navigate change. We go into depth on this topic in our Power of WE Managing Change workshop. To offer a few quick takeaways, when you communicate a change, be sure to discuss:

  1. Why the change is happening
  2. How it will be implemented
  3. Who will be impacted
  4. What new opportunities will come about
  5. Ways individuals can provide feedback
  6. The timeline
  7. What is still open for debate and what is decided

By including these seven message points, you will speak to every Emergenetics preference as you embark on your journey, which will help your team members and organization as a whole to feel more open to the change, more capable of accepting disruption and more motivated to take action.

To discuss how you can foster greater organizational resiliency, fill out the form below to speak with our change management experts.

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