Building Resilience in Times of Change Written by Katrin Homer

21st November 2017

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Katrin Homer and Marisa Knowles from Value Partnership delivered a breakfast workshop on Resilience at the end of October.

After the one hour workshop, which was held at Thomson Reuters in Canary Wharf, London, fellow Value Partnership Consultant, Sarah Cooney, asked Katrin more about it:

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Sarah: So Katrin, tell me a bit more about the recent workshop…

Katrin: Marisa and I recently had the opportunity to run a one hour workshop on resilience for a diverse audience of about 45 people. It was a breakfast event so people were able to enjoy some coffee first, mingle and network and meet some new people beforehand the workshop.

Sarah: What were the main topics that you were focusing on?

Katrin: We concentrated on a number of different methods and tools to help us build our resilience toolkit and we explored these in a very interactive way. Resilience is not something we have a fixed amount of, but it’s really something we can build. Marisa and I felt strongly that what we wanted to start with was to help our audience increase their self-insight. We sensed that if people have better self-insight and know what’s important to them, what drives them, what motivates and frustrates them, then it’s much easier to deal with things and events that set us back because that’s really what resilience is: being able to deal with setbacks.

We all have setbacks in our lives all the time, literally every day. The big question is how we deal with those setbacks, how quickly we recover from them and also for us to find out what we would do differently next time. Knowing what’s important to us allows us to let go of some things that really aren’t worth getting much attention, which makes this the bedrock of a resilient mindset and helps us exercise and build our resilience muscle.

Sarah: What did you notice when the participants were getting stuck into the activities?

Katrin: I was so delighted to see an audience of employees from different business areas within Thomson Reuters and a range of clients from Value Partnership talking to each other and engaging very quickly. This was a Friday morning breakfast workshop – so that takes a bit of work and the right mindset to get stuck right into what’s driving you, what challenges you, what gives you energy, what drains your energy and to think of challenges that people encountered over the last couple of weeks or so. That takes some effort but the way it landed it didn’t really feel it took much to get people working very quickly with each other. What I also noticed was people taking away hints and tips from each other leveraging the relationships in their networks and people asking for further literature on resilience.

Sarah: Did you get a sense of what worked really well with the group?

Katrin: One topic that landed extremely well was ‘managing your energy’. We asked delegates for five things that give them energy, and for five things that drain their energy. We set that up as pair work and got people to share their findings with the wider audience after and captured all the data on a flipchart. It was simply amazing to see the variety of things that people mentioned.  We also asked people to reframe challenges for each other using a method which we call ‘speed-reframing’.

We asked everyone to line up which reminded them of ‘speed-dating’ so that immediately injected some fun and lightness in what for some delegates were some real big challenges. We asked the person listening to reframe the challenge for their partner, starting their sentence with the helpful ‘Fortunately …’. That generated a lot of laughter. You could literally see the joyfulness on people’s faces. Not necessarily the first thing you’d expect and yet humour is a huge help in building resilience.

Sarah: And for you and Marisa as facilitators, what were your biggest learnings?

Katrin: For me, it was about how different people approach resilience in different ways and how very personal a topic this is. Yet I also noticed how we all benefited, including me and Marisa, from having some handy tools and methods that have got a lot of research and literature backing them up, to have those handy and readily available to us. Building resilience has been key to me personally. I have a busy life, I deal with a lot of challenges! I am a working mum, I’ve recently taken on a new role in Value Partnership, I’ve got two kids, and I can see how vital it is to help them as well to build their resilience muscle.

Sarah: So what’s going to happen next – where are you going to take this?

Katrin: Well, great question! We’ve already had some interest from participants asking us how we could build this workshop into a one or two-day program so that’s something we can offer to clients now. The six different tools and methods that we explored in the workshop were tasters and we’ve only really scratched the surface – but we could feel people’s appetite to want to go deeper. That’s exactly what we can do in longer workshops. We want to work with clients and find out what their challenges are and help them build their resilience muscle tailored to that.

Sarah: Excellent – thanks so much Katrin for your time today!

Katrin: Thank you, Sarah!

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