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Bounce Forward

Updated: Feb 9

Protecting optimism, energy and engagement

Recently, I read a business theory about “bouncing forward.” The idea being that a company can not only bounce out of crisis, but also bounce forward. The term offered me an alternate perspective on change and turmoil. Flipping perspectives is about finding a new way and words to contextualize a situation. It can ease cognitive strain to preserve optimism, energy and engagement. For many organizations, they’ve been living or seeing the need to embody bouncing forward.

When we look at all the variables that shock and disrupt businesses these days, there are two things that need to be in place for a corporation to bounce forward: a leader and organizational resilience.

1. Leadership Mindset

Mindset is the most important foundation for success, especially for a leader in today’s global economy. The right mindset, including your attitude about yourself and others, is critical to transformative work and results.

When we look at a resilient mindset, it’s much more than being able to flex, pivot and adapt. It is almost a full-time job in itself to keep your mindset strong, flexible, proactive, agile and ready for the unexpected and to learn.

In the book Bouncing Forward, Michaela Haas examines how individuals can take a bad break to transform it to a breakthrough. The basis for success was in the psychology of the human mind and their mindset. In one of the most dramatic examples of a breakthrough, several psychologists found that this individual’s mindset was based in what’s called a “Resilience Curriculum” rooted in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Of the people studied, all of them had this same Resilience Curriculum, which enabled them to bounce forward out of their crisis. Their habits consisted of:

· Realistic Optimism

· Effective problem solving

· Adaptability

· Coping strategies that include others situational self-regulation

· Mind-body wellness

· Consistent leadership presence to remain calm, present and engaged

· The ability to stay focused

· Being engaged through the purpose, meaning and belonging

Coincidentally, these are all like benchmarks that we use to analyze a leader’s mindset, critical preparation, and habitual frame of mind for any unexpected shock or disruption in business.

In our soon-to-be released research, The Future of Leadership, we demonstrate the increased importance of leadership mindset. If you haven’t explored this topic yet, check out Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, written by Carol Dweck.

2. Operational Resiliency

We’ve written about the importance of change leadership. Successful change involves strategy, planning and execution for people and process. This must be a collective and aligned effort, including an interconnection throughout the organization.

Leaders can lead through change if their businesses are set up to be operationally resilient. Achieving operational resiliency requires leaders to consistently and predictively take decisive and effective action during unprecedented and changing situations.

When the interconnection succeeds, results happen. Further, the strategy, leadership, culture, systems, execution and performance are permeated throughout the organization. This embedded measurement and evaluation supports organizational resilience.

Disruption leads to opportunity

McKinsey & Co. released the State of Organizations in 2023 report, which includes a summation about the readiness of companies to ensure they bounce. The more companies are ready for unexpected business shocks via their adaptability and resilience, the better set they are to absorb the shocks and turn them into opportunities to capture sustainable growth.

How does one lead a company with a focus on preparedness without allowing the business to stop and shudder because of yet another change or shock.

The study suggests that routinely reviewing and transforming structures, processes and people can help a company weather the shock relatively unscathed, while still charging ahead with energy.

While there are many models out there, the one that resonated with me on a broad scope is the Prevent, Prepare, Respond, Recover (PPRR) Model for Organizational Resilience. This model is a comprehensive framework employed to enhance organizational resilience. It provides a structured approach for organizations to anticipate, mitigate, and bounce back from disruptions and challenges. It emphasizes both proactive planning, and effective response to ensure sustained operational stability.

Let’s dig deeper into how this model works:

Prevent: focus on identifying potential risks and taking measures to stop them from materializing.

Prepare: deal with developing strategies and plan to manage foreseeable adversities. We refer to this as proactivity.

Respond: encompass immediate actions taken during an event or crisis to minimize damage. Responses cover strategic, tactical and operational events.

Recover: restore normalcy post-disruption, learning from the event, and strengthening the organization's resilience for future challenges. Disruption can lead to opportunity.

Measuring Organizational Bounce

Pivotal Growth adopted technology enablement with its baseline leadership assessment and consulting to collect data analytics about a leader and a leadership team’s capacity to achieve their goals. Most clients we work with have goals that demand a high competency in change leadership. Let us help you refresh your view about your people, specifically your leaders.

We can help you better understand change adeptness and resilience. These are crucial for companies to bounce forward out of crisis. We have the data and insights that understand that the success of a company is poised with resilience and adeptness. Our data and experience show how mindset is a driver, and it’s in fact the number one attribute we evaluate about a team.

How resilience and change ready are your leaders?

As we look ahead in navigating the ever-changing business landscape, consider what’s needed to assess whether your business is set to be resilient. We help ambitious and growth-oriented companies with their leadership strategy, design and implementation to support execution around their leadership systems, processes and people performance.

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