The Resilient Individual as a Success Factor for Companies


Persönliche Resilienz ist ein wichtiger Erfolgsfaktor für Unternehmen.

If you had asked me 7 years ago what resilience is, I would have only been able to give a vague answer. Honestly, I wouldn’t have known exactly what it entailed, despite intensely studying stress management, time management, self-leadership, and many other topics for the past 15 years. Resilience wasn’t on my radar, and I completely underestimated it. Today, I can’t stop the emphasize the importance of the resilient individual.

Resilience and persolog: How it all began


In fact, I stumbled upon this topic by a curious coincidence. I was booked as a speaker for a congress in order to talk about the persolog® Personality Factor Model. The program was published, and my name was on it. But with a different topic: “Resilience: How to Increase Psychological Resilience.” At first, I was shocked. But in hindsight, there was nothing to change. The program was already printed. So, I faced the question: Do I present my originally planned topic, which nobody expects, or do I immerse myself in resilience within a week? I am so grateful that I decided to delve into the topic of resilience back then. I realized: There is an incredible power in the field of resilience! Today, resilience is one of the key topics for which we stand at persolog.

Resilience as a response to the challenges of the modern working world


My thesis is: If we all increase our personal resilience and if our teams and organizations were resilient, then we wouldn’t have many problems. I believe we could prevent people from staying unhappy in a job for ten years without any career advancement, without quitting. Moreover, we could prevent people from working in toxic work environments and going home completely exhausted. I believe many of these problems could be avoided.

The reality in companies and the need for a paradigm shift


I am convinced that the three levels of impact – personal resilience, team resilience, and organizational resilience – have enormous potential. They could lead us into a completely different working world. The high number of mental health issues in companies and the inadequacy of conventional approaches such as stress and time management demonstrate the need for a rethink. It is part of our mission to create companies where people thrive and enjoy working. Companies need to recognize that promoting employees’ resilience is crucial to ensuring long-term commitment and satisfaction.

According to a recent survey, 31% of Germans suffer from a mental illness (AXA Mental Health Report 2024). This may not sound dramatic at first, but it means that almost one in three is affected! This naturally has enormous implications for our daily lives, experiences, and resilience.

Furthermore, it is remarkable how the willingness to change jobs has increased over the past years. 45%  state that they are looking for a new job or at least are open to a change (Gallup Engagement Index Germany 2023). This is a huge problem for companies. What is the reason? It is widely discussed that employees and managers are increasingly stressed and often feel like they can’t do anything right. I think it is understandable that employees leave the company, especially if they have other options.

Today’s working world is significantly different from the past, and people will change jobs much more frequently than past generations. Some choose to leave their company, while others may try to positively influence the company.

However, when asked how many companies are actually working on their resilience, there is also a clear picture.  Only 13% of German medium-sized companies state in a survey that they consider themselves well-equipped in terms of resilience (TCW Study 2023 with 460 companies). So, only a small percentage of companies are actively addressing this important issue. At the same time, over 90% of executives in the same survey state that resilience is important for companies. This shows: There is a gap between knowledge and implementation.

Closing the gap with comprehensive training and coaching


Although the importance of resilience in companies is widely acknowledged, there is a discrepancy between awareness of the importance and the actual implementation of resilience strategies. This highlights the need for extensive consulting and training. However, it is crucial to have a solid education to ensure that trainers, coaches, and managers understand and can effectively implement the three levels of resilience. A comprehensive education ensures not only that theoretical knowledge of resilience is available, but also that practical skills for implementation are developed. Trainers and managers should be able to apply individual and organizational resilience strategies tailored to their specific needs. This education should be continuous, as the working world is constantly evolving and presenting new challenges. It enables employees not only to cope with crises, but also to remain resilient in the long run.

Ultimately, comprehensive education is a crucial step in closing the gap and creating a truly resilient work culture. With our models for personal resilience, team resilience, and organizational resilience, we aim to close this gap.

The importance of personal resilience


It makes sense in every phase of life to strengthen one’s own resilience to be prepared for crises and promote health. Self-reflection is the beginning of this process and can be initiated, for example, with the persolog® profile for personal resilience. It is very important to me to repeatedly convey that resilience always has something to do with the ability to learn and adapt. It is not a determined personality trait. Even if we don’t always succeed. It’s great when we can achieve breakthroughs by making small changes in our lives and strengthening good habits.

We don’t have to start from scratch. But we can work on small obstacles that regularly stand in our way. It’s about undergoing an active process of mental health maintenance. Because that is the great advantage for the individual of strengthening one’s own resilience competence: that we are well-prepared and equipped. Nevertheless, it may still happen that something really throws us off course, but: the better prepared I am, the more strategies I have, the easier it will probably be for me to cope with the crisis.

Keeping the interaction of the 3 levels of resilience in mind


When we consider the interaction of the levels of resilience, it quickly becomes clear. Investments in employees’ resilience lead to an improved work environment, increased employee retention, and satisfaction. Eventually, companies must recognize that strengthening resilience brings not only individual benefits, but also strengthens the team and the organization as a whole. As trainers and coaches, we must keep all 3 levels in mind and ideally work on all levels. Because each level influences different factors, but they always interact with each other. Situations in private life often affect professional life. I have also experienced personal crises that were noticeable in a professional context. But the support of my team helped me get back on my feet.

I can only encourage all those who have resilience on the agenda in the field of training and coaching to undergo comprehensive training and to continually drive this important topic forward in companies.

This article is an excerpt from Debora Karsch’s keynote at the persolog® Day of Resilience 2024. If you missed the event and became curious, you can secure the VIP ticket with the recordings of all workshops and the presentations in PDF format here (only available in German).

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