Building Resilience – [FULL INTERVIEW]

In this full interview with Rob Tyler we discuss the importance of resilience and developing resilience to help manage in an increasingly changing world.

We cover new ways of working in the new business environment, and how we need to look a little self-reflectively to get the most out of ourselves, our teams and indeed our lives… a little bit of a coaching session for us here.

Find out more about Rob Tyler-> Here.

Interview Transcript

So hi, everyone, I’m here with Rob Tyler today, He specialises in the in the world of behavioural change management coaching. So Rob, thanks very much for joining me today. I really, really appreciate it.

Pleasure, Chris.

So I thought it’d be quite interesting just to chat a little bit about all of the changes that have happened over the last few years, but in particularly what’s happened to management teams, and individuals and how we’ve reacted to that, I think, what

what certainty it’s really is a, an individual reaction that’s been centred around a relationship between either the seeking of certainty or the building of resilience. And you could you could think of those really as two ends of an axis. And I think the important thing is for individuals to know what their preferences because the behaviours, depending on whether you’re seeking certainty, or you’re comfortable with yourself, resilience can be very different. So it might be worth actually thinking about what that means, you know, what seeking certainty really means. And I think that it’s looking for unreasonable, or obvious, rather reasonable knowledge that what you expect is likely to happen. And, you know, within certainty itself, there’s degrees of certainty. So for example, I can be fairly certain that tomorrow morning, when I go outside, it’s not going to be 91 degrees. And to be honest, even if it was, I can equally be fairly certain that I will find a t shirt and shorts to put on, so that that level of certainty for me is never going to be an issue. So I think it’s more to do with dealing not so much with certainty, but dealing with, you know, what uncertainty can bring? And how that makes me feel.

So we had a huge amount of change that’s happened over the last few years. Do you think that sort of like, drives a lot of the the uncertainty I mean, and that’s certainly into like, even like things like, from a personal point of view, planning holidays or planning what you’re going to do even next weekend, there was so much change going on? Does that really impacted the people who like really value that certainty?

I think it does, yeah, because I think it comes down to how you, you know, what, how you feel about certainty. So you can think of it in one way you can think about it is, if you’re looking for certainty, or or should we say the avoidance of uncertainty, then your mind is probably drifting towards a kind of outcome, which might be good or bad, but your focus is where it’s either going to work out, or it’s not going to work out. And then with that, you can develop a certain amount of attention or anxiety around that, because your mind will go to well, so I really hope it doesn’t turn out bad, I really want it to be good. So you’ve given yourself a set of yes, no type of scenario to play with, which I think can be can with certain people can be somewhat troublesome. What I would argue that if you were to move away from the quest for certainty, which arguably is quite futile, anyway, I’m focusing on building self resilience, then your mind then becomes more trusting of your own abilities to be able to deal with a situation whatever happens. So you’re not looking at it being either good or bad. You’re saying to yourself, well, it’s either gonna be good this way. And if it doesn’t quite work out, then I will trust myself that it’s going to be good in a different way. I will deal with whatever I’m facing. Because as we’ve you know, as we’ve learned over the last couple of years, there is a massive amount of uncertainty around and I think it’s on us really to think in terms of well, what can we do to build ourselves resilience and deal with that uncertainty as in when it comes up? Rather than look for the certainty in the hope that bad things will never happen? Because I’m sure they will, on a pretty much ongoing basis.

The making me think they’re a bit about other eating something other day around businesses, and you can you know, how much time do you spend sort of like, protecting what you’ve got, versus thinking about how you can go and get something new. And there’s like, a different psychology in terms of am I am would look at, and am I protecting what I’ve got, so everything I do is around protecting what I’ve got, yeah. And that generates a different behaviour from going out there and trying to expand what I’ve got, and maybe going to new areas, and you making me think about that in terms of certainty in terms of, and there’s so much change going on. Do you think we spent the first part of the pandemic just inward looking and just trying to protect what we’ve got, rather than sort of being more expansive and sort of improving relationships or going out and sort of finding new connections? Yeah, and that sort of psychologically impacted us?

Yeah, yeah. I mean, you raise a really important point there. I think there are a couple of things. First of all, I think with certainty, you’re focusing on sort of exogenous situations, in other words, things that are going to happen to you coming from the outside world, right? Whereas with with resilience is more endogenous, in the sense that you’re, you’re looking inwards and trusting your own knowledge of your own abilities and skill sets to be able to deal with whatever comes at you from the outside world. Right. And they’re they’re two very different foci of attention, if you like. But to your point, you’re reminding me of some of the work of Carol Dweck, which is around mindsets, and having a having a fixed mindset, and having a growth mindset. Yeah. And, and the issue that you quite rightly raised around the fixed mindset is that you’re protecting what you’ve got, don’t want to lose anything, you’re, you have a batch of resources, achievements. And because you’re fixed, you’re more likely to think in terms of the risk of losing what you’ve got, rather than adding to what you’ve got. And then with, you know, with a mindset of his, which is much more towards growth, you’re thinking in terms of well, okay, I’ve got what I’ve got, but what can I now do to build upon that, build out my resources, move on to deal with ever changing future circumstances. So idea, and I think that’s, that’s probably come into play. And I suspect in the corporate world, you’ve got businesses that force or if you like, the need to be able to change with the times, particularly those that have embraced technology. And those organisations that maybe got a little bit too fixed in what they have now. And then get caught out when when the world around them changed during the pandemic?

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Is it fair to say so, so what you’re saying around resilience, going back to that is if you build the resilience, then you don’t have to have that fixed mindset, you don’t have to protect what you’ve got, because you’re resilient to it. So you can sign into a bit more of that growth mindset. And it doesn’t have to be just business, it can be from a personal point of view in terms of growing yourself or going out and finding funny new things or new experiences. And is that is that? Does that kind of link into what you’re what you’re kind of saying or?

Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s an inward trust in yourself that whatever situation that you face, you will be able to deal with it. And I think that sucks away a lot of the anxiety. Because if your focus is on uncertainty, or the avoidance, if you like, of uncertainty, then that’s the world in which your your mind goes to what, what’s gonna happen to me if x y Zed happens. Whereas conversely, you know, with a resilient mindset, you can be thinking in terms of well, you know, I trust myself, that when the inevitable happens, as it will, at some point, I will be able to deal with that. And of course, the more you do that, the more you trust, you’ll be able to do it again. Yes, you can refer back to similar situations that came came along in the past that you’re able to compensate,

with had to be resilient to manage the change. But do you think, do you think we’re getting burnt out by constantly having to be resilient? So there’s almost like, it’s not just about, I think we were a lot of us resilience at the start. But if you hadn’t have sustained resilience, then you over the long term, it’s kind of what you’re saying is because the change isn’t going away, and this sort of burns you out to a certain extent?

Well, I mean, I think what I would say is that being self resilient, should become a way of life. Because personally, I don’t see any value in trying to avoid uncertainty. I think that’s, that’s hard work. And, you know, quite anxious. Whereas, you know, building self resilience is about, you know, building yourself up, literally, equipping yourself in future resource, having this growth mindset, and making that your way of being. So what I would encourage, you know, to the Pope watching this is, think about how self resilient you are and what you’re doing to make yourself more self resilient. And, you know, is it a way of life? Or are you living in a world of trying to avoid uncertainty?

And what’s what what are your top tips in terms of like, trying to build that resilience mindset? I mean, what are the things that that’s worth thinking about?

Well, I think the first thing you’ve got to do is to, you know, become fully self aware. Really try to understand yourself as best you can in terms of, you know, what your skill sets are. And, you know, I think that I think there’s a combination of awareness and skills. So, you know, we all know, or we all think we know what we’re good. But the first question around that is, you know, how do we know that we know that we’re good at it? You know, where’s the evidence? So it’s just first of all just validating that we You know, we, I believe, if you like are true. The other thing is that there are probably things that we’re very good at, and skills that we have, that we’re unaware of what other people seeing you that you may not see in yourself, or indeed, may not be prepared to accept in yourself. So I think it’s really important, you know, to reach out to other people that are trying to get that information input, so that you you’re fully aware of what your full skill set is. But really importantly, you know, when people tell you that you have a skill in a certain area, actually believe them. Rather than politely shrug your shoulders and go back to your original thoughts. But just complete that. Yeah, the other the other thing, which I think is really important, and this is where I think it helps to build a little bit more self resilience is that we all have areas where we, you know, where we don’t trust ourselves, we don’t believe we can do certain things, we don’t believe that we can handle situations in a certain way. And I think in those situations, we have to sort of challenge our thoughts a little bit, and ask ourselves, well, you know, I believe that I will never be this. So where’s the evidence to support that? Would you? Could you defend those thoughts, you know, in a given situation? And question, you know, the validity of your thoughts, but also, you know, what would you have to do to change that situation, because all of that I think, gives you a much more rounded level of self awareness. And that level of self awareness will indicate to you the extent to which you can become much more self resilient.

Yeah. And I suppose we’ve all seen examples of people who doing one thing, one part of their life, and they distraught with a 180 degree change and done something else. And I suppose is, it is in, it can be the like, almost like, it’s almost like the self belief that stops us doing it. Yeah, I can never do that. Right. But actually, you might be able to you just haven’t tried yet, I suppose.

Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s the way you perceive yourself is that you see yourself one way, but maybe you don’t see yourself another. And by not seeing yourself in another way, you immediately closed off that opportunity.

Yeah, yes. But almost like the freight, the framing of how you sort of think about yourself? Absolutely. I want to get back to I suppose it also links back to the growth mindset as well, with just what you said around evidencing how you can change things. If you don’t try things. Surely, having a growth mindset means you do try things, then you get more evidence to know that you can do these other things. I think that’s

absolutely, yeah. I mean, you’re right. I think it’s compounding, you know, the more you the more you do it, the more belief you’re having yourself that you can adapt to those changes. And the more you’ll go seeking further change. It’s self propelling in that respect. Absolutely.

So the other thing that’s talked about quite a bit at the moment is, is, you know, there’s been a lot of sort of change in the workforce, and it sort of, you know, it’s like two years after the pandemic, and it does feel like everyone seems to be changing jobs. I mean, the number the number of the number of job job adverts I see, are people looking for new positions, you know, and some of that is probably, you know, growth that’s been stalled. But I mean, there seems like there’s a big sort of, like, almost like churn of people going to new roles, market, and a lot of people got, yeah, looking for positions that they can’t fill these days. I mean, what do you think, almost like psychologically, or behaviorally is sort of generating the reason why we all change and find something new?

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Yeah, well, I mean, we’ve just been through, you know, a massive, unplanned psychological experiment, if you like, living, living through the pandemic. And it’s bound to have stimulated a lot of individual reflection on what people really want to get out of their lives. And I think that’s part of it is, you know, apart from the fact that the technology supports a different way of working, so you don’t necessarily have to do what you did before in the way that you did. It is given people I think, you know, a form of introspection that, you know, there’s a lot of way a lot, a lot of ways that you can get value out of your life. And maybe what’s been done thus far isn’t really the way forward. So I think some of that stimulates to change. But you know, there is this situation of managing your work life cycle as well, your career lifecycle, because you can either stick with what you’ve got, and run the risk of sticking with it too long point where it no longer getting any value out of it. Or you can recognise that you no longer can get any further value out of what you’re doing, and that it’s time to move on and start looking for something different. Yeah. And the trick is actually to get the balance, right. Because, you know, in some cases It can be damaging to one’s career, or even, you know, to one’s existence, if you like to spend too much time doing the same thing, when you’re no longer really getting any value out of it. In other words, you’re just doing it as a, as a habit, rather than as a purpose. That can be quite damaging. But equally, it can be quite damaging not to stay in a position long enough to be able to benefit from that position filled. By the risk, the risk is that you either stay somewhere far too long, or you end up hopping around too much. No, no, which is, is the perfect mix. So it’s finding it’s finding the right balance for yourself, I think and finding the point at which you can say to yourself, now is a good time to do things differently. And I think probably, you know, because of the conditions that we’ve had, during the pandemic, folk have had that space, and they’ve had that opportunity to be able to think a little bit about where are they in their career cycle? And what is going to be best for them going forward. So you’ve got that, you’ve got that opportunity, if you like that we’ve had to have that self reflection, combined with changing environments. Yeah, if you look back at, you know, 2019, that situation didn’t exist. But but it has over the last couple of years.

And I suppose you talked a bit about habit, I mean, how many of us were in the habit of, you know, commuting, commuting into a major city and sort of like, you know, going to the office, and then also like to have this change forced? And you don’t know, it’s kind of like, well actually do that for a while. It’s like, Well, did I really enjoy that? Did it really add a lot of value? I’m still getting the same stuff than I did before. Maybe I need to change. Maybe it’s sort of crystallises those thoughts? To a certain extent?

It does, yeah, well, this is why I kind of refer to it as a sort of unplanned experiment, really, because, you know, the individuals have learned and discovered what’s possible within themselves. And that, as you quite rightly pointed out, you don’t necessarily have to be on a tube train every day in order to get your job done. But I think also organisations have gone through a learning experience. And they themselves are realised that in certain instances, that you don’t necessarily have to have your staff sitting at their desk in front of you being watched over 24/7 in order in order to trust and and indeed, accrue the benefits of the employment in your organisation. So it’s been learning all round. And this experiment, I think, that we’ve been through, has effectively, and when I say experiment, and I’ll try to undermine the difficulties that everyone’s had, but the the experience that everyone has learned from that particular timeframe, has given a different way of working going forward. And I think both organisations and individuals have been able to adapt to that.

And if you take a step back, just on the on the pandemic, I mean, in, in nearly all company, all countries in the world we’ve all been affected, and you think about is being like a common shared experience, either in terms of, you know, the pandemic itself, and obviously, that the health risks that have been there, but also in terms of certainly in Western Europe, North America, you know, a lot of a lot of Asia as well is like just the lockdowns that have taken place as well. I mean, we’ve all been through the same, it’s all kind of the same experience. There’s, there’s a quite a commonality around the humanity in terms of our experience to a certain extent that we’ve all shared, which has probably never happened in and that kind of scale

before, I would think. Yeah, almost certainly. Yeah. One thing’s for sure that whoever you speak to anywhere, any part of the world, you’re going to have some common ground at the moment. Yeah. And be able to share your individual experiences in your own environments. So in that respect, yeah, I suppose we’re we’re kind of being brought together a little bit globally. Because, you know, we all we’re all effectively going through the same thing.

Yeah. Yeah. It’s quite, it’s quite interesting to see how that was that sort of dynamic will kind of change. It doesn’t give you a bit, does it give us a bit more sort of coming together? Really, because we’ve got more common ground, rather than emphasising the differences? Which is what we seem to? Yeah, humans seem to do quite a bit.

Yeah, you’re right. Yeah. So I mean, in any in any relationship in any group relationship, you’re faced with the possibility of either focusing on similarities or focusing on the differences. And you’ve probably heard me say this before that, you know, if you if you can look for the similarities that helps you build rapport with your with your team members, whether it’s locally or globally. And if you focus on the differences, well, the benefit there is to look what you can learn from the other person, rather rather than the threat that those differences might bring. Yeah, depending on how you view them similarities and difference rinses can give you multiple benefits, particularly when working as teams and groups, either locally or globally. Yeah,

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that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s good advice these days. That’s for sure. So, and just getting back to that, as far as the remote working piece, I mean, so that’s, that’s obviously we’ve all been working remotely. You know, there’s pros and cons or things like that. We just talked about some of the pros, but there’s, there’s definitely a here some themes around what the cultural impacts are of that, you know, and in terms of like, how do you build culture? And if you go back in the office, do you build more of a culture or can share the culture I mean, what’s the, what’s the almost like the Goldilocks zone in terms of not too hot, not too cold, and trying to find, trying to optimise our experience, so we can sort of still have that culture still have that shared culture and yet get some of the benefits we kind of have?

Well, I think overall, you know, working differently, the job is to strip out the waste if you like, and keep the good stuff. Ultimately, what you don’t want to do is throw out the good stuff with the waste. So the waste would be unnecessary commuting time, for example. But the benefit, the benefit, the benefit you want to hang on to is the ability to be able to continue to build relationships and good rapport with your teammates. But I think, you know, I don’t think you can generalise over it in a completely because you’ve got individuals have their own ways of working their own preferences, or in personalities, and so on. And I think the folk have to find their own middle ground in this new way of working, some people want more time in the office, other people are quite happy working from home. So I don’t think you can have a generalised, everybody must do this, or everybody must do that. But I think creating an environment where folks are able to pick the best way of working for them, for the benefits of themselves and for the benefits of the organisation they work for. Makes good sense. Because that way, you’ve got an employee driven way of working, rather than an imposed way of working. I think from a motivation standpoint, that can only be a good thing.

So it sounds like you’re sort of saying we got to sort of boil it down to almost like the person interaction. So to make sure you’re understanding where the person is coming from trying to sort of tailor around around each of us as much as one size fits all.

Yeah, yeah, definitely not a one size fits all, because I think the one size fits all is what we’ve what we’ve had for the last 500 years. And I think, you know, I think the it’s allowing individuals the freedom within a framework to be able to work out what’s best for them. And, you know, bring together if like they need their own needs, but obviously importantly, with the needs of the organisation as well. Yeah.

And do you think this greater awareness of that as a result of what we’ve been through? than there has been? Or do you think, will we there is a danger, we could just snap back into the way it was before.

I’m not sure it will snap back into the way it was before, I think it’s more likely to always be different going forward. And that goes back to what I was saying, Just now, I think there’ll be an element of just not doing the bad stuff anymore, and avoiding the wastage. But But hanging on to or even having a craving for maintaining the important things that are needed in a working relationship. And that will mean getting face to face from time to time. Yeah. So So I think that that side of it is likely to continue and probably will increase compared to the way it’s been over the last couple of years. But I don’t think it’s going to go back to the way it was maybe three years ago, I think there’d be a new level that will be found.

Yeah, and I suppose that there’s an opportunity to have more meaningful face to face interactions when you do meet someone rather than rather than transactional kind of discussions, because you’re not seeing them every day. So you can actually have that, you know, the same team building but you can have that, you know, that essence together and focusing on more of the the building culture, cultural side of things behavioural side of things, rather than just have a meeting because we need to tick the boxes or go through some reports which can be done remotely and you can you can do that as as often as you need to.

Yeah, absolutely. So we’ve now got the, again another learning experiences or been to been through as is using an online video conferencing and video tours and all the ones that were used to sell I suppose what that’s done is it’s made the face to face meeting. It’s kind of upgraded it hasn’t it in some aspects, you know, and the mind goes towards well, do we need to really meet face to face or can we do this over teams or zoom away or whatever it is? And that’s not to say that we are avoiding meeting face to face. But we’re starting to question the need to do so in certain situations. So, you know, but again, I think that that that comes down to what I was saying earlier, which is, have we been doing things just out of habit? Rather than thinking about do we actually need to be doing this? And that’s where that’s where the, you know, potentially, the control of wastage comes into play, you know, because there’s a cost. And there’s obviously, time consumption, and getting face to face with people when you didn’t necessarily need to do so. In our minds, you know, getting a face to face meeting with folk or being with folk, or more personally, you know, is an upgrade, if you like, to the way we’ve been working over the last couple of years. And, you know, I think we need to think of it as a gift, you know, the gift of people’s time, you know, personal time is important. It’s not something we should take it for granted. And we should we should make the best use of it when we can. Well,

Robert, I really appreciate you taking the time. I feel like I’ve had my own personal coaching session. I do. I do appreciate. But, but yeah, some really great advice there. I think some deficits of thoughts around resiliency and having that sort of resiliency and having that growth mindset, I think definitely definitely comes across. You know, definitely some things for us to think about. So I really appreciate you taking the time

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