In early 2022 the word ‘resilience’ had started to surface more and more in conversations across our business. Initially, I was reluctant to attribute a range of examples of resistance, low motivation, and underperformance to just one word. It felt too broad, as though we weren’t doing justice to the individual root causes.
A few months passed and a moment of serendipity brought Trina Schofield of My Mighty Mind into DCS for ‘a chat’. Trina had worked in sales at DCS 6 years earlier and Michael, our CEO, had noticed her new business direction from a LinkedIn update - ‘teaching the science of resilience in a logical, simple and memorable way.’
We thought carefully about how we would position resilience training. We didn’t want it to be seen solely for people who were struggling at work or at home. We wanted it to reach every corner of our business so that our people could learn how to be resilient as a way of being rather than purely as a way of recovering. Above all, we needed to make it safe for anyone in the business to attend and to be part of a group training event. And if anyone felt they couldn’t engage with that format that there were other options open to them.
While Trina’s content had initially been designed with children and teenagers in mind, we worked with her to adapt it to an audience of adults. Interestingly, it was only elements of the format and not the substance of the content that changed. The neuroscience of resilience holds true for humans of all ages - and that was one of the fascinating learnings for our colleagues.
We kicked off the group training events - and people from across the business came, voluntarily. Not everyone, but an encouraging number. We tweaked the communication, shared insights that people were happy to share, and we encouraged managers to encourage their team members to join in.
To be honest, at the outset, we weren’t completely sure how an effective resilience programme would look. However, the one thing we were 100% clear about was that the core focus of the training was the individuals and what they would gain. We trusted that the business would also ultimately benefit.
People told us how they had used the learnings from the training with their children and their partners - as well as for themselves. Using strengths to manage fears and normalising the challenges we will all potentially face at some point is becoming a more commonplace language in a range of conversations. Raised personal awareness is beginning to show through in PDPs.
It has grown from being a programme which builds the resilience of the individual to one that provides tools to recognise and harness team strengths, develops collaboration and, in our next phase, supports leadership. The application has become more business-focused but with the individual at its centre.
Certainty can be useful but it’s elusive and the collaboration with Trina on the DCS resilience programme has reminded me that we don’t always need to know exactly what the outcome looks like to take the first step. Having clear guiding principles and reviewing and designing as we go has allowed us to take onboard valuable new information.
As an L&D Lead, I have loved the various forms of collaboration that have led to this programme - with our CEO who acted on an instinct, with Trina and her honesty, expertise, and resourcefulness and with the Team Leaders who have embraced the opportunity to do what’s best for their people.