Resilience: A Soft Skill To Be Developed
The significance of resilience was underscored in a speech by Lawrence Wong, the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Minister for Finance of Singapore, in March 2022. He emphasised that resilience is a crucial trait that all Singaporean workers and businesses need to cultivate. In his words, "we have to be prepared for a world where we cannot avoid these shocks, but we can learn to be more resilient to have the ability to go through these bumps, to take some hits, and then bounce back stronger" (point 8.d).
But what exactly is resilience? Resilience is often associated with the ability to perform under stressful situations, handle heavy workloads, and persevere. However, its cognitive dimension is equally crucial.
What does resilience look like for an employee and employer?From an employee's perspective, building resilience entails several vital aspects. Firstly, it means being able to cope with career adversity. Resilient employees can overcome setbacks and challenges, emerging stronger in the process. Secondly, it involves actively building career assets and skills that equip individuals to navigate future changes in their respective industries. By constantly developing their abilities, employees position themselves as valuable assets to their employers.
For employers, fostering business resilience involves various strategies to develop cognitive skills that amplify their resilience:
- It requires building an adaptable organisation that can respond effectively to disruptions and changing market conditions. This entails cultivating a culture of innovation, flexibility, and continuous improvement.
- Organisations should actively seek out and promote adaptable leaders who can guide their teams through challenges and drive positive change.
- Investing in talent development and cultivating a resilient culture can help organisations build and retain high-performing teams while attracting new talents.
How do you start building career resilience with a cognitive edge?
To start building career resilience, individuals can explore the Business Resilience Programme, which offers CCS-aligned modular training programmes developed in collaboration with Project Zero, an educational research group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. This four-day programme is designed to help employers create an adaptable and agile workforce and equips Professionals, Managers, Executives, and Technicians (PMETs) with the relevant skills needed to thrive in turbulent times. The Business Resilience Programme comprises four modules:
- Adaptability – This skill has become vital for both employees and employers. Adapting to new circumstances, technologies, and market trends is crucial for staying relevant and competitive.
- Sense Making – The business world is rife with ambiguity and uncertainty. Making sense of complex and incomplete information is an asset in such situations with critical thinking skills.
- Transdisciplinary Thinking - Transdisciplinary thinkers are not confined to a single domain of expertise. Instead, they possess a broad understanding of various disciplines and can integrate insights from multiple fields to tackle multifaceted challenges.
- Decision Making - Effective decision-making is a critical skill that underpins success in both personal and professional realms. Decision-makers can evaluate various options, assess risks, and choose the most suitable action.
Combining Cognitive Skills with Your Career Goals
Investing in upskilling and reskilling can be a game-changer in times of uncertainty. Aligning your resilience-building efforts with your new year goals provides a structured approach to your professional development. Whether enhancing your adaptability or embracing transdisciplinary thinking, having measurable objectives will position yourself as a valuable asset to your employer and a professional equipped to thrive in the challenges and opportunities.