The April 2011 edition of Harvard business Review contains an article describing how the U.S. Army is training its soldiers in the skills of building personal resilience. It is remarkable that not only is the Army undertaking what could be seen as “soft skills” and training for its front line soldiers, but also that they expected to train all their 1.1 million members in these techniques. Click here to go to the article.
What is also quite remarkable is that the program has been very well accepted, with some soldiers saying that it is the best training that they have received from the Army.
The training is being conducted under the auspices of Dr Martin Seligman, who also authored the article, and is arguably the most influential living psychologist today. He together with other well-known research scientists have identified five elements that go to make up resilience and train the soldiers in these five areas. Further details were described in my blog dated 22 November 2009.
The five areas are known as PERMA – positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment.
Our research on the building blocks of resilience in South Africa found these five elements and an additional two. We also offer training in these building blocks and have found that delegates report a sustained enhancement of their resilience over time — they find that you don’t have to do flounder in the face of adversity, but can deal with it and eventually flourish.
In these turbulent times resilience is fast becoming regarded as the personal competency to deal with tough times, to remain task focused and ultimately flourish. This is required as much in the Army as it is in everyday business.