Thriving Through Resilience - Archipelo
August 25th 2019 | Welcome, growing your people, building your business

Thriving Through Resilience

Thriving Through Resilience

On Tuesday 28th March, we held our most recent Naked Coaching Club “Thriving through resilience” with our client panelists Kate King; Chief People Officer at Omnicom Media Group & Michal Oshman; L&D Consultant EMEA at Facebook.

This article contains the key output from the event in order to get you thinking about your own personal resilience, as well as some insight on how to get teams and organisations to manage pressure significantly better.

Both Omnicom & Facebook have live resilience programmes running with us and it was a very special evening hearing from Kate & Michal with some extremely honest, humble and undiluted debate about the importance of resilience & managing pressure in the modern workplace.

First tip: use a ‘Fishbowl’!

In order to enhance the event we used an innovative team coaching technique called a ‘Fishbowl’. In simple terms a Fishbowl is a panel with empty chairs. The empty chairs must be occupied by members of the audience who have the opportunity to build on points, challenge the debate or ask another question. The purpose for doing this is to make the debate more fluid and ‘unscripted’. From a team coaching perspective, it provides the entire group with the power to own the debate rather than the standard dynamic of a panel, which can often feel like ‘specialist/expert sharing views to the less informed’. If you would like more information on how to run a fishbowl, please get in contact with us and we will ‘skill you up’ you as a gesture of goodwill.

The Stiff Upper Lip?

Reslience conjures up images of the Army and Navy, the stiff upper lip! The Oxford Dictionary definition which defines it as “to bounce back/fight back”.

A subtle shift in language has been introduced to position the programmes correctly internally. Stress has been replaced by the word “pressure” because this is removing the diagnosis and replacing it with a word that reflects what is being experienced. Creating a safe environment in which to talk is critical to the success of these programmes. Also supporting the less vocal or least comfortable individuals is very important – it’s not just accommodating the ones who are willing to seek help, it’s about supporting the quiet and possibly more vulnerable ones too.

Turbulent Times

Turbulence & sustained pressure is the new norm at work, which is why resilience is so important! Failure is really OK and increasingly understood. “We care about our most important asset and we have a “no arse holes” policy!” So it’s important to encourage talking, expressing one’s emotions, brutal honesty and normalizing vulnerability.

What is typically covered in a programme?

The core purpose of a resilience programme could include; raise self-awareness, understanding of triggers or “stressors” & managing pressure in others.

What about ROI?!

Businesses need to be bothered about resilience and wellbeing and it should never be about return on investment. It should be about the potential near misses and the risks of not doing anything about it. This is a really powerful observation and message to employers. As a business do you know and understand the pressures being experienced across your business?

It is important to track data and measure outputs. Appointing internal ambassadors who champion and drive the subject forward was also shared.

What key factors could/should be considered?

Our panel undertook pilot programmes in order to tackle any potential cynicism. It also gave them the opportunity to react to feedback from the attendees and tweak the content to meet their needs. Within the sessions themselves no-one is judging and there is trust within the room. It is a powerful sharing experience. The programmes have been a “game-changer” & “people are taking the lead to change the content so it is living DNA”.

Alterative ideas from other ‘Fishbowl’ panelists …

One of our clients told us about a Mental Health First Aid Course she attended. The content covered anxiety, suicidal thoughts & psychotic behaviour in the workplace. She felt much more able to care for others around her at workplace by raising her awareness of others and taking notice of their anxiety and pressure levels. Other clients joined the panel and created debate around budget challenges. It’s worth noting that raising awareness of mental heath issues can be achieved creatively and possibly on a shoestring – the desire just needs to be there.

Finally, one of the fishbowl panel contributors told a story from his 8-year tenure as an Officer in The Royal Navy. He explained that military exercises were regularly designed to place individuals under high pressure situations to test their ‘breaking point’. The objective is to reveal which individuals are capable of self-diagnosing the point at which they feel most vulnerable (and therefore putting themselves and their crew) at risk. The learning point here is that individuals who are capable of knowing their own ‘breaking point’ rarely succumb to acute stress or pressure and the risk is therefore limited in real life pressure situations. In other words, being open about vulnerability is encouraged in the Royal Navy.

Reflective challenge! So what, are you doing to encourage individuals and teams to know their breaking point & be open about their own vulnerabilities?

The action packed illustration below is the work of Natalka Design who captured the entire session beautifully.

… and finally

The Archipelo Naked Coaching Club is about ‘baring your soul’ in the interests of community/peer to peer learning and knowledge sharing. So I shared a very personal story about a series of set backs and personal challenges I have faced training for the London Marathon this year. I have overcome these challenges, but it has been testing for me at various stages. I described how a poem called “Don’t Do It” by Charles Bukowski has served as an inspirational rock when I have been at my lowest points. I have used it to get myself running, especially when I really couldn’t face it. It is reassuring to hit rock bottom and still know you can thrive. And I this is a great piece of emotional knowledge to store in the ‘bank of resilience’. This leads me to recall one of the main messages of our resilience programmes; “I’m OK, even if I don’t feel OK”.

I hope you enjoy the poem & in a small way it helps you too:

Gary Cole, Managing Director, Archipelo


Don’t do it

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything,
don’t do it.

unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut,
don’t do it.

if you have to sit for hours staring at your computer screen
don’t do it.

if you’re doing it for money or fame,
don’t do it.

if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.

if you’re trying to be like somebody else,
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of you,
then wait patiently.

if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

unless it comes out of your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would drive you to madness or suicide or murder,
don’t do it.

unless the sun inside you is burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time, and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by itself and it will keep on doing it until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.
and there never was.

Charles Bukowski