This is the first of a series on blogs on the topic of personal resilience as the missing ingredient in making organisational change stick. Read this series of six blogs, and learn how to make your organisational change work, and ensure the benefits are realised!


“Baby Jake” Matlala has lots of it. Amy Biehl’s parents, Linda and Peter are the epitome of it. Caster Semenya demonstrates it. Even the JSE is showing signs of it. They all are resilient – able to deal with tough times and bounce back. Resilience may prove to be the single most critical personal skill for us as South Africans, as we reconcile with our past, cope with the turbulent present and prepare for the future.


What is resilience? It’s certainly demonstrated by those who battle the storm’s fury to rescue sailors, or who tunnel deep underground to free trapped miners. Luckily, it’s not just confined to a select few heroes. It’s a widely distributed ability that we all possess.


Resilience enables us to “bounce back” after experiencing stressful life events such as significant change, stress, adversity and hardship. Most intriguingly however, it incorporates the concept of emerging from adversity stronger and more resourceful.




IMG_0022At work, resilience is the ability to remain task-focussed and productive whilst experiencing tough times. Imagine your organisation staffed with people who have abundant inner strength and resourcefulness, which enables them to cope with mergers, new priorities, major change initiatives, new technologies and even downsizing. Wouldn’t that make a difference!


Interest in resilience in the workplace has been increasing. Solid research has mirrored this interest, and over the last few years has shown that there are dramatically beneficial outcomes for organisations that enhance resilience in their workforce:


• Resilient people experience overall more hope, optimism and positivity and so are better able to cope with job demands
• Resilient people are best able to get through tough times such as job loss and economic hardship
• Resilient people are better able to learn new skills and knowledge when their existing set become outdated
• Resilient people are less likely to become mentally or physically ill during adversity
• When competing for a job or promotion, the more resilient person has a better chance of succeeding
• Resilient people are best able to turn adversity into a growth experience, and to leverage it into new experiences and ways of working and living


The good news is that resilience can be enhanced and developed to achieve dramatic benefits for the individual and the work place.


Learn more in the next blog about how to enhance resilience of staff to ensure organisational change is successful.