growth

Resilience

January.jpeg

How Do We Build Resilience?

By Justin Palazzo-Orr

More and more organisations are finding the need for resilience development programs for their staff. What is resilience? Who can be resilient? How do we develop resilience?

 

What is resilience?

The Oxford dictionary describes resilience as ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.’[i] You can think of resilience like a fruit tree’s ability to blossom and fruit after a long winter.

 

Who has the capacity to be resilient?

The truth is, if you are reading this, you are already resilient. You have had the resilience to get through all of the challenges that life has thrown at you to this point. We all have the capacity to be resilient and to build on our existing resilience.

 

How do we build our resilience?  

Thinking about our fruit tree mentioned earlier there are a few steps to developing resilience.

The first step is knowing that winter is coming. Just as winter comes every year, challenging times are inevitable, and that’s ok. The most resilient people are those who expect and adapt to change and challenging times. In their book Great by Choice, Jim Collins and Morten Hansen use the term “productive paranoia.”[ii] The idea of being productively paranoid is to be prepared for challenging times and balancing that preparedness with being a fully functioning individual.

 

Ensure our fruit tree is well fed, watered and has some slow release fertiliser. Be sure to use the good times to build up your internal and external resources. There are a variety of resources which can help you get through challenging times. One of the most commonly suggested is building up your social networks. Build an orchard around you to help you get through the winter.

 

The next important step is the pruning. Ridding our lives of branches which are not going to contribute to supporting us through the winter, flower in spring, or fruit in summer means we save our valuable resources for those which will. The pruning phase can create discomfort but has the double advantage of providing us with more resources to face challenging times and, being a challenging event itself, will add to our resilience.  

 

Now you are prepared, you’ve built up your resources and stripped away parts of your life which will work against you, you are ready for winter. The first step in making it through the winter is remembering that it will pass. The mantra ‘this too shall pass’ is not just a cliché but a helpful fact to remember. Each day you get through is one day closer to spring. The next step is to tap into the resources you have built up in the good times. Use as many resources as you need to, but as few as you can get away with.

 

Once winter has passed, take the time to reflect on the challenge you have just made it through. Think about a challenging time which you have been through. How did you contribute to successfully making it through the challenge? Resilient people tend to take ownership of their own good fortune.[iii]

 

Just as the seasons come and go, so do our challenges. After we have made it through one challenge, and we have taken the time to reflect on it, we need to replenish our resources and begin to prepare for next winter.

 

APRG offers tailored Resilience Development Programs which can be delivered over a full day or as a series of workshops.

If you have any questions or concerns relating to your mental health, you should discuss them with your health professional.

Please call 07 3231 6500 to speak with Justin about the APRG Resilience Program and how you can strengthen your orchard.

 

 

[i] (Oxford University Press, 2018)

[ii] (Collins & Hansen, 2011)

[iii] (Seligman, 2006)

Team Development

November.jpeg

Stages of Team Development

I am sure you are all familiar with Tuckman’s theory of team development. It is a well-discussed and applied theory about the states of team development first published in 1965.

Getting a group of people to work together isn’t always an easy task but is important for success. The Australian workplace culture especially, is very team orientated, focusing on the collective efforts and working together to achieve an outcome.

Understanding team dynamics and the team development process is important for leaders and managers.  Tuckman’s theory suggests that every team goes through four distinct stages of development.  He believed (as is a common belief today) that these stages are inevitable for a team to grow to the point where they are functioning effectively together and delivering high quality results.

Here is an overview of the stages and what the team might look like as they progress through each stage:

Stage 1: Forming

The "forming" stage takes place when the team first meets each other.  You may have had a team shuffle, be welcoming new team members or forming a new team.  Team members are introduced to each other, share information about themselves and start to form first impressions of each other. They learn about the team they are in or joining and the objectives and goals as well as starting to build and understanding of what their role will be within the team and how they contribute to the overall success and key deliverables.

During this initial stage of team growth, it is important for the team leader to be very clear about their expectations, including team and individual KPIs and how the team contribute to the bigger picture.  The team is dependent on the team leader to guide them. For more information on setting expectations read our September blog: http://www.aprg.com.au/blog/2018/9/27/setting-expectations

Stage 2: Storming

As the team begins to work together, they move into the "storming" stage. This stage is not avoidable; every team - most especially a new team who have never worked together before - goes through this part of team development.  In this stage, the team members challenge each other as they work to understand how they fit into the team, working to gain acceptance of their ideas and skills.  It can cause conflict as they have different opinions and want to share their expertise and experiences and why their ideas should be accepted.  It’s a tussle for authority, trust and belief in the individuals experience and expertise. 

As the team goes through this, the guidance and support from the leader is important.  The leader’s role here is to set the boundaries and coach and support; establishing the platform for the team to allow them to explore and learn how they will solve problems and function together as a team.  It is the leader’s responsibility to ensure that this is done in a positive and professional manner that provides support and opportunity for the team.  This can be a difficult stage for the team to go through and requires hands on coaching and support from the leader.

This stage will come to a close when the team becomes more accepting of each other and learns how to work together to achieve objectives. At this point, the team leader should start transitioning some decision making to the team to allow them more independence, but still remain involved to coach, guide and manage any conflicts or issues that arise. The leader’s role is critical through this stage and successfully guiding the team through this phase will set them up for success.

Stage 3: Norming

When the team moves into the "norming" stage, they are beginning to work more effectively as a team.  The team have developed a way of working together that respects each other's opinions and value their differences. They begin to see the value in those differences. Working together as a team seems more natural. The team members begin to actively seek each other out for assistance and input as they work towards a common goal. The team leader supports the team members to work collaboratively, sharing skills and strengthening the depth of the team.

Stage 4: Performing

In the "performing" stage, teams are functioning at a very high level. The focus is on reaching the objectives and goals as a group. The team members have gotten to know each other, trust each other and rely on each other. They know their individual contributions and how to utilise the strength and experience of their peers.

Not every team makes it to this level of team growth.  For a leader, this is a significant win and now the team require a leader that is strong in their own beliefs and contributions.  For an insecure leader, this strength and success of the team can become threatening as the team is identifying problems and solutions independent of the leader.

For the secure leader, they will recognise this as a significant testament to the work they have done to build the team and will encourage the team to continue working and continue to invest in the people to grow and support them as they achieve new heights.  

The team is highly motivated to get the job done. They can make decisions and problem solve quickly and effectively. When they disagree, the team members can work through it and come to consensus without interrupting progress.  In this stage, the team leader isn’t required to be involved in decision making, problem solving or other such activities involving the day-to-day work of the team. The team members work effectively as a group and do not need the oversight that is required at the other stages.

It’s important to note that even in this stage, there is a possibility that the team may revert back to another stage. For example, the team may revert back to the "forming" stage if a new member joins the team.  Significant change can also revert the team back to an earlier stage until they are able to manage through the change.

Is the team effective or not?

On top of the stages and pinpointing the team through these, there are various indicators of whether a team is working effectively together as a group. An effective team looks like this:

  • Clear communication among all members

  • Regular brainstorming session with all members participating

  • Consensus among team members

  • Problem solving done by the group

  • Regular team meetings are effective and inclusive

  • Positive, supportive working relationships among all team members

Teams that are not working effectively together will display the following:

  • Team members work alone, rarely sharing information and offering assistance

  • Team members blame others for what goes wrong, no one accepts responsibility

  • Team members do not support others in the team

The team leader needs to take fast affirmative action to address issues and work with the team directing them to a more effective way of working together.

Strong leaders will take ownership for the success of their team, demonstrating trusting behaviours, setting clear expectations and working with the team members to understand the contribution to the overall goals. 

A team joined together on the “Why” will find success organically and deliver above and beyond expectations.

How To Make 2018 Your Best Year Yet

blog image sample.jpeg

"The secret to getting ahead is getting started".

- Mark Twain, author


January 1st heralded the beginning of a brand new year and a new beginning where we turned from what was and prepared to lean into what could be. There will be many who reflected on 2017 and immediately put it behind them as yet another year of dreams unfulfilled and goals not realised. There are others who basked in the success of a spectacular year breathing in the heady scent of achievement wrapped in an aura of fame, gain and accomplishment.

Which one are you?

New year’s eve has come and gone and, if the Huffington Post is to be believed, 92% of new year’s resolutions will already have fallen by the wayside.

That doesn’t mean you can’t hit the reset button and still fulfil the promise to yourself that 2018 will be different. And it can be when you unleash the power of goal setting to help make this Year your best year.

What will make 2018 outstanding for you?

Deciding what it is you actually want can be the hardest part of goal setting simply because we let the ‘hows’ get in the way of the ‘whats’. Too often we can’t see how something can be achieved so we put what we want to one side as being unachievable.

To get clear on what you want, imagine for a moment that you have in your possession, a magic wand.  If you were to wave a magic wand and everything was exactly as you want it to be on 31st December 2018, how would it be? What would you be seeing, hearing, feeling, experiencing in your perfect world?

What will it take for your life to be fearlessly easier, better and more fulfilling?

Write this down in as much detail as possible. This is your plan for 2018.

To enjoy a balanced approach to life, experiencing success across the board, set goals in all areas of your life; three goals per area is ideal although there is no limit, set as many as works for you.

Key life areas:

1.       Finance

2.       Career

3.       Family

4.       Health and Well-being

5.       Relationships

6.       Personal Growth

7.       Home Environment

8.       Community Contribution

Meaningful goals are SMART goals; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.

The more specific you are with your goals the greater the chance you will achieve your desired outcomes. For example, a goal to have more money is too vague. If I hand you $5, you now have more money. Was that what you wanted? No? Having an additional $25K in your bank account tomorrow may be measurable but not perhaps achievable or realistic. The more clearly defined the goal, the better.

Specific:   What it is you want? Why it is important? Why do you want it? Is anyone else involved and if so, who? What requirements and constraints, if any, apply? 

Measurable:   How will you know when you have achieved it? 

Actions:   What are the steps required to achieve your goal? Make the steps small and easy. 

Realistic:   What will you need to do/learn/find out to achieve each step? Is your goal aligned with where you are headed in life?

Timely:   When? Set a deadline for the completion of your goal and to celebrate. This will keep you motivated and moving.

It’s very liberating to make the decision to live life on your terms, take charge of your direction and step boldly forward to make your life whatever you want it to be.

If you want to do something different in 2018, then make it this. Decide what you want, set the goals to get you there and then take massive action.

The future is yours.