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Building and Maintaining Your Personal & Organisational Resilience

This year we are continuing to hear from many of our clients that they’re feeling mentally and physically exhausted from work and life. It is not surprising with the constant demands of the day-to-day and many have not recovered from the significant impacts that covid-19 delivered in 2020 and continues to deliver to this day. Because this fatigue and exhaustion is so prevalent throughout our work with our clients, we are revisiting the topic of burnout and resilience.

Resilience is not a personality thing. People are not just born with it. Resilience is a learnt ability that any individual can build and develop. Resilience can waiver because of temporary environmental factors and wellness impacts. The key to maintaining your health, wellbeing, and an optimistic frame of mind, is keeping your resilience levels high. We want to share and reflect on some practical tips to help you improve and maintain your resilience, particularly in the workplace, no matter what life throws at you.

Respected Psychologist Martin Seligman is a strong promoter of positive psychology, and he concluded there are five elements to 'well-being' (PERMA model). We encourage you to focus on incorporating these five elements into your daily lives:

Break the day & week up so that you can recharge and get some positive emotions in there as well.

  • Make sure are doing some things that are uplifting and engaging; something fun and a bit of an outlet; otherwise, you are giving energy to everyone else and not replenishing yours.

  • Invest in your relationships; your most important personal relationships & relationships with colleagues have some of the highest contribution to your resilience and well-being.

  • Connect with your meaning and keep reminded of why you do what you do; this connection with meaning helps our resilience in the most challenging situations, and it also makes it easier for your team to join and support you.

  • Track and be mindful of your achievements; working remotely can have less feedback and markers of what you achieve, so sometimes you need to ‘be your own cheerleader’ and note the things you have achieved through your work.

Maintaining your own personal resilience is a priority, but we also require our workplaces to provide a safe, positive, and resilient environment for their people to thrive. We have provided some insights below into what makes a resilient organisation, and how your leadership team can ensure they are set up for emotional safety and the ability to thrive in turbulent times.

How Resilient is your Organisation?

When talking with leaders about how resilient their organisation is, we often refer to a core model from the Federal Government research body on the organisational resilience, to frame up a conversation and guide thinking. The Resilience Expert Advisory Group, (REAG) defines organisational resilience as ‘ … businesses ability to adapt, evolve, and shape itself to effectively respond to challenges, present and future. Natural disasters, supply chain disruptions, and unexpected economic downturns are among the kinds of shocks organisations may face.’ The work from the REAG identifies three broad areas that build an organisations’ resilience and are used to build agile and robust response and recovery capability. Here are areas to be mindful of when thinking of the organisation’s resilience:

1. Leadership and Culture

2. Networks and Partnerships

3. Change Ready

Leadership and Culture

Building strong leadership and a positive culture that promotes resilience requires leaders that provide effective management, make good decisions and foster a culture where employees understand the placement of their individuals’ goals within the organisation, are employed to use their skills to solve problems, have the authority to make decisions and delegate, and they create an environment where innovation is encouraged and rewarded.

Networks and Partnerships

REAG also identified that organisations with effective networks and partnerships were more resilient and able to bounce back. These organisations access mobilise internal and external relationships and resources to support the business through change. They tend to have the ability to distribute important and clear knowledge throughout the business rapidly, and they break down barriers which might otherwise disconnect or divide the organisation.

Change Ready

The third dimension that REAG identified in resilient organisations, is the how ready the organisation is to make changes. A resilient organisation's priorities will be widely understood by all its employees, and they will have a proactive approach to internal and external change. Simulations of strategies developed to tackle change will help organisation assess and familiarise themselves, enabling the best response possible. REAG identified some further characteristics that indicate the organisation is change ready. These organisations have:

· A unity of purpose

· A culture with a proactive posture

· Strategies around planning

· Run scenarios and stress test plans.

Like we have outlined in previous discussion documents, it is now more than ever, that strong leadership is paramount. In times of challenge and change, being a strong leader is particularly difficult, but even more vital. Whilst making rapid changes to cope with the current climate, teams need more empathy and support. We advise being a purpose-led, people-focused leader that your team will look to and look up to. You and your leaders need to help them adjust, make sure they are connected to each other and the strategy, and then it is important to show them the way forward.


Incorporate Psychology (ICP) is working with organisations across Australia on its team’s personal and organisational resilience programs. Should you, or your leaders, require individual support, tailored resilience workshops or strategic consulting, please contact us at or contact Matt Dale directly on 0411 113 617 if you would like to discuss this article or our services further.

Reading list

· Ravasi, D.; Schultz, M. (2006). "Responding to organizational identity threats: Exploring the role of organizational culture". Academy of Management Journal. 49

· Flamholtz and Randle – 2011 – Corporate Culture The Ultimate Strategic Asset

· Forbes Magazine – Victor Lipman 2012 - Study Explores Drivers of Employee Engagement

· ’Mindset: The New Psychology of Success’ Carole S. Dweck Stanford University

· Crim, Dan; Gerard H. Seijts (2006). "What Engages Employees the Most or, The Ten Cs of Employee Engagement". Ivey Business Journal.

· "Engage Employees and Boost Performance". Hay Group. 2002.

· Hulme, Virginia A. (March 2006). "What Distinguishes the Best from the Rest". China Business Review.

· "Employee Engagement Statistics". MyHub Intranet Solutions. 2016-08-19.

· "Self-Determination Theory and Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being"(PDF). American Psychologist. 55: 68–78

· Resilience Expert Advisory Group (REAG) in Australia. Department of Home Affairs & Department of Attorney General


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