No Trade-Offs Necessary: Caring for People And Profit
4 min read
Resilience Institute

Caring for people and boosting profits don’t have to be polar opposite endeavors. The traditional logic of business is that we can either prioritize people or prioritize performance.

This is an unnecessary and outdated compromise. Reality is more nuanced, it is not a binary world, and as such it requires us as humans to be more nuanced and holistic in our approach. Elevating people and growing profits can go hand-in-hand.

At work, technical competencies prioritize performance – but to thrive in today’s business landscape you need more than just technical ability, you need emotional intelligence. Every business needs teams that are resilient to thrive when tough moments inevitably arise. The pandemic is only the most recent proof we have that resilience is a necessity, not a nice-to-have add-on. Throughout this article, we will expand on why we need resilience competencies in the workplace – not just technical competencies. 

This article summarizes the conversation on the need for resilience competencies between Alexia Michiels, Managing Partner at The Resilience Institute Europe; Muriel Soupart, Partner at Innate Motion; and Shad Raouf, Show Host.

If you prefer to listen, click play below.

Fierce Empathy

According to The Resilience Institute, resilience is the ability to bond, grow, connect, and find flow. It is through connecting and bonding that we are able to lift each other up in moments of adversity. Alexia tells the story of being in China in 2008. When the world economy came crashing down, many Western countries were startled. On the other side of the globe, Alexia witnessed something more organized, collected, and calm in China. As soon as adversity struck, Chinese officials and influential stakeholders came together as a harmonious entity. They were trying to discover the new opportunities hidden in the world’s new reality. Resilience breeds foresight and innovation. 

Being resilient is channeling our connection to ourselves, the people around us, and our environment to see more and use our sight to make informed decisions. It unlocks part of the picture and it unlocks clarity. This is what connection does. Connection is vision. Vision that is not possible without fierce empathy. Like empathy, resilience is a muscle. It has to be practiced regularly. If you stop exercising resilience, you lose your edge, your strength atrophies. 

Resilience competencies are necessary to keep a team strong and healthy. Businesses need to help their teams exercise their resilience muscles so that they can use them in unexpected, challenging moments. But, how do you build resilience?


Radical Collaboration 

Our interdependence is undeniable. The pandemic, the Ukraine war, and the threat of climate change are only a few examples of that. When airports closed and we couldn’t leave our homes, mental unwellness grew. We are still healing from being separated from each other. It’s not just for mental health that we need each other, it’s also for the health of the supply chain. Our systemic interdependence is sure-fire proof that you cannot separate people from business performance. 

This is why only honing technical competencies is a flawed approach. We need to hone resilience competencies as well. They go hand-in-hand. As Alexia, puts it “We cannot work with the brain of people and forget the other dimensions we need to work with the whole human being and that is why building a culture that is totally human is so important.” 

We cannot separate our brains from our spirit, mind, and body. It is for that very reason that we cannot hone technical competencies and neglect the elements that make the world turn and function: our connection to ourselves and each other. 


Call For Change 

The Resilience Institute recently published The Global Resilience Report. The report measured resilience over three years in countries across the world and includes the learnings from 25,000 diagnostics. It gives us insights about resilience that we can use to broaden our vision and strengthen ourselves and our organizations.  

It identifies 5 factors that are correlated with high resilience: sleep, fulfillment, the ability to respond quickly to daily adversity, relaxation, and the ability to focus on the present. The report also shows that resilience is correlated with age – people seem to get more resilient with age. The good news is that the research shows that resilience is a habit, not a personality trait. This means it can be taught and learned. We have a duty to spread resilience education in schools and to train young professionals to be more resilient.
The Global Resilience Report found that resilience increased during the pandemic which only goes to show that it is a muscle. When we use it, it gets stronger. For organizations to be better prepared for our next adversity, it is important that resilience be practiced and measured as a competency in the workplace.