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5 tips for building a resilient business

Dr Chris Barclay is the Founder and Director of Evolve8 Coaching, working with organisations to strengthen their capability and culture. Partnering with the Health and Wellbeing group, a partnership of Ward Hadaway, Wellbeing Works and NPH Group, he shares the core principles of organisational resilience, how to build resilient habits and explores the benefits it can bring business both large and small.

1.Focus on your people and processes

To build resilience in a business you must intentionally focus on both your workforce and the business processes. You can do this by using the core principles of business resilience:

  • Your people are your top asset – Resilient workforces are happy, productive and view challenges as opportunities to grow their skills and to deliver business success. Resilience enables individuals, teams and companies as a whole to manage even the toughest challenges.
  • The client/customer is the boss –  Always keep your client’s needs front of mind, always delight who you work with and in return, you will foster long-lasting relationships and business success.
  • Leadership is key – Leaders within your business must lead with resilience. They need to champion the development of resilient skills within their teams. Resilience can be taught and your workforce and business can become more resilient with training, practice and strong leadership.
  • Communication and collaboration – An important part of resilience is clear communication. Strong communication skills build trust and enable productive and effective collaboration. Two crucial skills when managing challenges.
  • Innovate or die – You must deliver what’s needed within what’s possible. Be honest and realistic. When faced with a challenge, look for the opportunities. Focus on innovating and if necessary, pivoting to resolve, learn and grow as a business.
  • Optimism wins – The power of belief in a positive future is critical as optimists out-perform pessimists. Remaining optimistic and seeing the opportunities within challenges invigorates your workforce and business as a whole, supporting your efforts to face any challenge.

2.A resilient workforce is imperative

Resilient businesses have happy, productive employees and deliver business success. Non-resilient businesses struggle and often fail. It is not possible to be a sustainable growing business, without a resilient workforce.

Resilience is the ability to adapt and recover quickly from challenges. These challenges come in all shapes and sizes from economic to personal. How well you respond or bounce back from challenges is determined by personal, team and company resilience.

It is a strategic imperative for organisations large and small to develop the resilience of their workforce and business. The absence of resilience will result in anxiety, paralysis of action and poor business results. At its very best, strong resilience has the power to turn every challenge into an exciting opportunity which grows your people and business. Strong resilience creates a culture which will guarantee the long-term success of your organisation and business.

3.Developing high-performance teams

Teams must be resilient before they can be high performing. High performance is not about how teams operate when things are going well; high performance is about the positive behaviours and actions teams take when faced with complexity and challenge.

Resilience gives individuals and teams the confidence and ability to define stretching goals, overcome barriers and achieve success. Resilience enables high performing teams to manage risk and uncertainty by being comfortable in being uncomfortable. Strong leadership, communication, innovation and optimism are critical resilience skills which fuel high performing teams.

4.Training is key

The great news is that resilience is a trainable skill. Your workforce and business will become more resilient with quality high impact resilience training. If you are considering resilience training, please make sure you find a training provider who delivers high impact resilience training, designed to deliver a positive impact on your workforce and business processes.

High impact training creates a strong reason to believe improved resilience is worth the effort. It explores the fundamentals of building strong personal, team and business resilience. Then the real magic happens when your people connect their new resilience skills, to the opportunity and challenge they and the business face.

5.Read, think and take action

Resilience requires practice, as you are trying to retrain ingrained non-resilient ways of thinking and working. Business leaders will benefit from developing their understanding of resilience and equipping the workforce with resilience skills. Encourage every employee to become a student of resilience – inspiring them to read, think, take action to increase resilience where-ever they can.

There are many resilience-building techniques and real value in sharing simple and powerful concepts and encouraging practice. Take for example perception and positive reframing. These two techniques are simple yet powerful tools to unlock the ability to think in new, positive and resilient ways:

  • Perception is reality: Create a promising reality by perceiving every challenge with excitement, confidence and belief you will overcome it. Don’t be worried or anxious. How you perceive any situation will be your reality, resilient people perceive a reality that allows them to succeed.
  • Positive Reframing:  You can choose how you see a challenge. Don’t focus on the negatives. Positively reframe how you see the challenge. Focus on how you will use your skills and get the help needed to overcome it.

Try these for yourself and see how they change your way of thinking on a day-to-day basis. Then, reflect on the effects these tools could have on your team, workforce and business as a whole.

To find out more about resilience training and access to a range of support and advice on the subject, contact Dr Chris Barclay of Evolve8 Coaching at or call 0191 303 7287.

For any employment queries, please contact Jamie Gamble of Ward Hadaway at or call 0330 137 3164.

On 25th November, Jamie Gamble was joined by Dr Chris Barclay Evolve8 Coaching, Head of HR for CPI Dr Amy Smith and Investor Relationship Manager CPI Dr Ian Smith, for a webinar focussed on building business resilience through your workforce, helping to support high-performance teams and drive business benefits. Please see below for a recording of their discussion.