When the going gets tough

January 27th, 2014

When the going gets tough

You may be lucky enough to be in a business that has not been impacted by the current economic conditions. Perhaps you're not facing a squeeze from increased competition and having to respond to pressures on costs. If so, good for you!

For a lot of people, however, it remains tough out there. There is fairly broad agreement among economists that what we've experienced since 2008 is not a normal cyclical recession. On a personal note, I have noticed that all the talk of a 'V'-shaped recovery has long since gone.

There does appear to be some positive economic stirrings both here and in North America, which is obviously very welcome news. That said, I'm not sure that these early indications of confidence are necessarily relieving the pressure that a lot of people and organisations are still feeling.

With that in mind, we thought you might find the following Harvard Business Review article useful. Rather than coping with an economic environment that is challenging beyond the norm (and has been for quite a while), Joshua D. Margolis and Paul G. Stoltz's How To Bounce Back From Adversity deals with a slightly broader topic. Nevertheless, it sets out an excellent framework for understanding the psychological impact of adversity in an organisation, and how managers can develop ways of improving resilience.

In a worst-case scenario when nothing is going right, how do you survive and even thrive? Among other suggestions, Margolis and Stoltz argue for a change in mindset: "To strengthen their resilience, managers need to shift from reflexive, cause-oriented thinking to active, response-oriented thinking."

In a world where stress is seen as having a significant negative impact on performance, here at Insight we think you'll find the article a worthwhile read. After all, when the going gets tough - and for many, it already has - the tough are those with the ability to think differently, in order to respond decisively and swiftly.

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Simon Wiltshire

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