Things Are Fluxed Up!

The world right now is filled with uncertainty and change. You might say, things are fluxed up.

Our best-laid plans and activities have been stretched, compressed, and generally bent out of shape over the past several months. Many of us wonder every day if this is the right time to come back, launch that big initiative we put on hold, return to the editorial calendar, resume selling the way we did before, or even go back to work (full stop). 

In this environment, the word “resilience” gets brought up a lot. How resilient are we? Can we recover quickly from stresses and bounce back into our original shape?  

Many frameworks have been developed to attempt to measure resilience (examples include the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, the Resilience Scale for Adults, and the Brief Resilience Scale).

But measuring resilience is difficult because resilience is observed after the successful negotiation of stresses. It’s a bit like those YouTube videos of people placing rubber band after rubber band around a watermelon until it explodes. You can’t measure how many rubber bands a watermelon can withstand until it fails. The number depends on the watermelon, strength of the bands, how quickly you place them, and so on.  

That’s why most measurement frameworks simply try to identify positive attributes that give people or organizations the capacity for resilience. This capacity is the ability to change and to form new approaches to future stresses.

When I see resilience in marketing practices, it isn’t the team’s ability to get back to normal operations after a crisis that matters. It’s the team’s ability to adapt to the next version of normal. 

I’m working with a content team now that, in the last 12 weeks, has had to reprioritize, revisit their content tech stack, and launch a set of new communications platforms with new workflows, standards, and guidelines. They’re not thinking of going back to the old. Their jobs are reshaped, their technology is retooled, and the governance and workflows remade. They’ve adapted. 

I’ve found a combination of attributes improve the ability to bounce forward. I look at resilience as the capacity for adaptation informed by conscious intention.

In other words, as you’re stressed, pressed, and bent out of shape, look to whatever the challenge may be and ask three questions:

  1. What is our capacity to adapt this change into something new?
  2. What is our conscious intention for this change (if we even have one)?
  3. Would that change, informed by our intention, move us forward, or backward?

Asking these questions, can be one way to of become more resilient.

Put simply, resilience isn’t the ability to bounce back after disruptions. It’s the ability to adapt to – and bounce forward because of – disruptions.

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