This is the fourth in the series of blogs about building personal resilience of staff to ensure that your organisational change sticks and benefits are realised.

We recently conducted a study of resilience in South Africa. The aim was to examine how people cope with adversity and stress at work, with the view to finding out how to enhance personal resilience to enable better coping with organisational change. The research included a literature review, critical incident interviews and focus groups. The outcome was a clear understanding of what creates personal resilience: the role of personal meaning and purpose together with the importance of understanding yourself; how to manage your thoughts, feelings and attitude; and what to do in order to cope with tough times, and in particular how to emerge stronger and more resourceful.


Three domains of personal resilience were identified, each with its own set of constructs. In order to make these constructs easier to understand, we now express them as principles of building personal resilience.


As shown in Figure 4, the core domain consists of the principles of building resilience: Connect to your purpose and meaning in life and Use your unique strengths. The internal world domain consists of the building resilience principles of Maintain perspective, Generate positive feelings and Be realistically optimistic. The third domain is that of the external world, and consists of the building resilience principles Preserve by being open minded and flexible and Reach out to others.

Rx model


              Figure 4: Personal resilience building blocks model


Each of these principles of building personal resilience will be briefly explained in the next of the series of blogs about resilience in the context of organisational and life challenges.