When it comes to purpose-led work, I find that words really do matter. Resilience and Growth have featured in many of our discussions with leadership teams, over the past while. However, they are now spoken about, not as distinct entities, at the opposite ends of an organisation, led by distinctly different functions, but together, as pointing to one important term – Resilient Growth.
Resilient growth has come to the fore and, I would like to propose, has come of age, in 2021. The past year has made many of us test our understanding and our application of both resilience and growth and we are discovering new ways in which they work together. Let’s start with some definitions. We see resilience as something beyond short-term focus. In our world, resilience is a core element of organisational longevity – our ability to thrive over the long-term rather than mere short-term growth bubbles, which soon end in collapse.
Working with and studying organisations in challenged industries has shown us how lack of resilience can generates many ‘false starts’, attempts to grow beyond one’s industry paradigm, an inability to sustain early advantage in adjacent market spaces (which seem opportune at the first instance) or discovering the need to build resilience well into the transformation journey (often too late to sustain the journey by that stage).
For us, Resilience and Growth are part of the design of any meaningful transition – they are explored, discussed, understood upfront.
Here are three areas we believe are key to making organisations practice resilient growth: Can you recognise these in your organisation?
- Resilience in relationships: At the core of any meaningful transition we find a sense of shared purpose, around which relationships are forged and often tested. Our ability to build relationships for the long-term, nurture for longevity and meaningful connection, aimed at the expression of purpose – are at the heart of successful growth and transformation journeys.
- Resilience in direction: Our ability to forge a path under (sometimes) extreme uncertainty. So aptly put by Howard Schultz on his call for us to ‘Onward’, based on the evolution of Starbucks into a truly admired organisation, has shown to be anything but a straight line, but the disciplined exploration of options, of testing multiple paths, and learning to adapt in new and unfamiliar environments. Their origin story, on which a narrative was built and which guided countless teams to execute in often challenging environments, was always there.
- Resilience in facts: Navigating new and unfamiliar terrains often brings with it new data, and how such data is interpreted, what lens is used to accept, sometimes ‘bend’, challenge, even ignore new signals is a risk many organisations face during their journey of growth and transformation. Our resilience in seeking the deeper truth, to brace conflicting information and allow for alternative perspectives to develop, has been a feature of virtually all successful transitions we have examined.
What we found is that Resilient Growth is not merely a perspective, but an invitation – for colleagues and partners, from across and beyond the organisation, to collaborate, to contribute towards a more insightful picture of where we truly are and what we must anticipate and prepare for ahead.
We need resilience to build for the future, to tap into capabilities without compromising today’s performance and to practice leadership courage in finding value, with others. Let’s get started.
Have a good weekend everyone!
Saar Ben-Attar (A Connector Beyond Limits)