How to Build Resilience in Your Organization

In today’s fast paced, ever-changing and highly competitive global market, CEO’s and Boards are paying attention to the health of their organizations and the vital importance of a resilient workforce. Andrew Zolli defines resilience as “the ability of people, communities, and systems to maintain their core purpose and integrity among unforeseen shocks and surprises.”

Leaders are required to be resilient and set the tone for creating such a culture. Juggling the competing priorities that come with leading an organization can be rewarding and energizing yet also mentally, physically and emotionally demanding.  We often prioritize the ‘work’ over our own needs. While in the short term this seems productive, in the long term it can be detrimental, to you, and your organization. As referenced in our recently posted HBR article, Making of a Corporate Athlete, “chronic stress without recovery depletes energy reserves, leads to burnout and breakdown, and ultimately undermines performance.”  One way to protect the health of your organization is to protect your own resilience by finding ways to recover mentally, physically and emotionally.

Below we offer proven methods to support your daily recovery, which, in turn, will have a positive impact on the resilience of the organization.

Mental Well-Being

Have you ever stayed late to get one more thing checked off your list only to make a mistake, or spend twice as much time on it, realizing a fresh head would have produced better results? Noticing the difference of a clear and focused versus mentally drained mind allows us to make decisions on when and how we use our mind throughout the day.

Create white space in your calendar: Shifting from doing to being is a key differentiator to how we show up as leaders. Being can look like creating time and space to think, reflect, realign, create, strategize or just be.  What would shift if you took a moment between one meeting or activity to the next in order to set an intention and become present?

Mindfulness: While mindfulness has been a practice for years, it is now a much written about leadership topic for improving wellness and performance in the workplace.  It can often be thought of as a time-consuming formal practice. Yet, it only requires a few moments with our breath and the space we are in.

What would change if you integrated a few moments each day to come back to yourself, bring awareness to how you feel and how it is impacting your mind, body and mood? How it is impacting those around you? This simple practice can shift our tone and energy and, in turn, that of our work environment.

Set boundaries and say no:  We have a finite amount of time. While saying ‘no’ to an extra project may feel like we are letting our boss or organization down; saying ‘yes’ when we do not have the time and resources to do it well, can be counterproductive.  What would happen if you became consistently thoughtful about your priorities and where you should be spending your time?  

Physical Well-Being

We all know that sleep, water, nutrition, physical activity and outdoor time (time with nature is even better) play an important role in our physical well-being but it also has a direct impact on our emotional and mental wellbeing. It can be hard to consistently make healthy choices when we are pulled in multiple directions but may seem more attainable if we consider tweaking a few simple habits throughout the day.

Rest: We cannot persevere through the same task continuously for 8-10 hours straight. Working in breaks or changing our activities throughout the day will help provide the rest time our bodies need.We often feel like we do not have enough hours in the day to pack everything in, however incorporating breaks daily will improve our effectiveness, productivity, and ability to focus.

Fuel your body: Eat good food and drink water. Creating a culture where healthy consumption is the norm can really influence our choices. Simple tips include providing team water bottles; bringing healthy snacks to meetings (not your leftover Halloween candy!); ordering healthful lunches; and, not overdoing it at ‘happy hour’. Most importantly, leading by example with our own healthy choices will also impact those around us.

Get moving: Fitting some movement into our day can go a long way to enhancing our well-being. This can feel daunting especially if we put pressure on ourselves to stick to a training program or get to a gym. Instead consider starting with, small changes like taking the stairs, getting out for a brisk walk at lunch, or our favorite, integrate walking meetings when possible.  What is a reasonable change you can make daily to get moving?

Get some Vitamin ‘N’ (Nature): What difference would a fifteen-minute break outside make to your mindset? Getting out of the office, away from the computer, or taking a fresh outdoor break between meetings can improve our energy and focus when we return to the office. This will have a grounding and positive effect on mental acuity, creativity and overall well-being.

Emotional Well-Being

Knowing our values, having meaningful purpose and pursuing our passion helps us keep the bigger picture in mind. This provides room for gratitude and the fortitude to carry on when challenges arise. Additionally, checking in with our emotions each day can turn a “bad day” into a “good day with a bad moment.”

Connect your work to your values: Reflecting on the meaning of our work and living our values can restore our sense of purpose and enhance resilience. When values are not in alignment it can deplete us and cause burnout, hence become harmful to the health of the organization. What values are non-negotiable for you and how do you feel when they are not in alignment? What do you notice about the value alignment in your organization?

Lean on your people:  Having a few trusted allies at work can go a long way in helping you cope with the emotional demands of leadership.  In fact, research suggests having a ‘work spouse’ (a close platonic relationship with a colleague) can help manage stress, prevent burnout and increase productivity at work.

Who do you connect with at work? What is the social culture of your organization? Connection both professionally and socially can support the emotional restoration needed during those busy or stressful workdays.

Make time to pursue your passions. Make time for the other things, outside of work, that fulfill you or bring you joy.  Volunteer, play an instrument, spend time with loved ones. All of this will help you feel more fulfilled and in balance. It also provides you with a higher purpose and brings perspective and gratitude. What opportunities do you provide yourself and your employees to pursue their passions?

A final quote from the earlier referenced HBD article The Making of a Corporate Athlete captures the overarching message that recovery matters, “High performance depends as much on how people renew and recover energy as on how they expend it, on how they manage their lives as much as on how they manage their work. When people feel strong and resilient—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—they perform better, with more passion, for longer. They win, their families win, and the corporations that employ them win.”

Claire Roussel-Sullivan se joint à Royer Thompson – Gestion & ressources humaines en tant que consultante senior basée au Nouveau-Brunswick

Halifax N.-É. (Mecredi 12 juin 2019) – Claire Roussel-Sullivan possède plus de 25 années d’expérience dans tous les domaines de la gestion des ressources humaines, y compris plusieurs postes de direction dans l’une des plus grandes compagnies d’énergie au monde.

« Ayant vécu et travaillé dans toutes les provinces maritimes, ainsi qu’en Alberta et en Colombie-Britannique, je suis ravie de revenir au Nouveau-Brunswick », a déclaré Mme Roussel-Sullivan. Au cours de sa longue carrière, Mme Roussel-Sullivan a acquis une connaissance approfondie des ressources humaines et possède une expertise particulière dans les domaines suivants: stratégie en ressources humaines, rémunération des cadres, relations de travail, gestion du changement, formation et perfectionnement, recrutement, diversité, droits de la personne et harcèlement. Elle est passionnée par l’alignement des ressources humaines à la stratégie d’entreprise, l’analyse des données en ressources humaines et la constitution d’équipes de haute performance qui répondent clairement aux objectifs de l’entreprise et sont axées sur l’optimisation des résultats.

« Nous sommes très heureux de fournir à nos clients une gamme complète de services bilingues au Nouveau-Brunswick et dans l’ensemble du Canada », a déclaré Kim West, présidente de Royer Thompson. « Possédant une vaste connaissance et maintes années d’expérience en matière de ressources humaines, Claire est très enthousiaste face à l’accompagnement, le conseil et l’orientation des cadres supérieurs, des dirigeants et autres personnes clés qui abordent des défis en leadership, gestion du changement et autres défis reliés aux ressources humaines. »



Harriet Wiegert

Tél. 902-422-2099


A propos de Royer Thompson

Royer Thompson est une société de gestion des talents axée sur le développement du potentiel humain au sein des entreprises en soutenant un objectif commun, en recrutant et en cultivant le leadership et en encourageant un esprit innovateur, clair et entrepreneurial.

Claire Roussel-Sullivan joins Royer Thompson Management & Human Resources as Senior Consultant based in New Brunswick

Halifax NS (Wednesday, June 12, 2019)Claire Roussel-Sullivan brings 25+ years experience in all facets of human resources management including senior HR leadership roles in one of the largest energy companies in the world.  

“Having lived and worked in all Maritime provinces as well as in Alberta and British Columbia, I’m delighted to return home to New Brunswick,” says Ms. Roussel-Sullivan. Over her extensive career, Ms. Roussel-Sullivan has gained a broad view of HR with expertise in areas such as strategic HR, executive compensation, employee relations, change management, training and development, recruitment, diversity, human rights and harassment.  She is passionate about aligning HR with business strategy, HR analytics and building high performance teams with clear line of sight to business objectives and focus on maximizing results.

“We are very pleased to provide clients with a full range of bilingual talent management services in New Brunswick as well as across Canada,” says Kim West, President of Royer Thompson. “Drawing from her vast HR knowledge and experience, Claire is very keen to assist and coach executives, leaders, and other key individuals through leadership, change management and other HR challenges.”



Harriet Wiegert

Tel. 902-422-2099


About Royer Thompson

Royer Thompson is a talent management firm focused on capturing the full potential of people in organizations by supporting a share sense of purpose, recruiting and cultivating leadership, and fostering an innovative, caring and entrepreneurial spirit.

Building Capacity for your Organization of the Future

With pending retirements, succession planning is an imperative for all organizations in Canada. It is also an opportunity for Boards and Executive teams to refresh the organization and bring more diverse and inclusive perspectives into the mix.

Yet there is often an “allergic reaction” to the topic of succession planning.  The reaction seems most acute when succession is cast narrowly within the context of identifying and developing new leaders to replace those nearing retirement or exiting a business. A more productive approach may be to think about succession planning as an opportunity to cast a broad net, capturing people you want to stay engaged in and contribute to, and possibly transform, your organization.

While many organizations have a succession document, employees tell us it tends to feel like a paper exercise because there is often no follow-up on development plans for high potential talent. For those not on the list, it can be demoralizing, which is completely at odds with the goal of succession planning. We also hear from employees that leaders sometimes avoid candid conversations about expectations and realistic prospects for advancement. As a result, performance and compensation processes can feel like circular discussions.

A holistic approach to talent management is a remedy for getting beyond check-the-box succession planning. The benefit of this mindset is that it can align with and strengthen the organization’s purpose and culture, anticipate future talent needs and proactively develop a pipeline of people to contribute to the organization.

Succession planning starts with a critical look at the business and imagines where it is going in the future, including a deep understanding of the leadership competencies needed for the organization to be successful long-term.

Typically, organizations identify gaps between the talent in place and the talent required to drive success.  One would imagine any talent assessment today would include more focus on digital, artificial intelligence, automation, collaboration, and global capabilities, being transparent on leadership competencies is important to align expectations and foster an enabling culture.

Regular discussions about how people are progressing against their development plans and being creative about how to challenge and develop them gets great results.
It is important to provide leaders at all levels in the organization with the training and skill development they need to be effective in cultivating high potential colleagues.  This includes defining processes, technology, tools and other initiatives that support talent development. It means integrating succession planning with other key talent processes such as recruitment, leadership development and cross-functional work experiences.

To ensure succession planning is productive, it is important to follow-up on actions. Otherwise high potentials lose interest and can even become disengaged.

To summarize, here are 10 steps to effective succession planning:

  1. Imagine the future
  2. Define leadership competencies
  3. Define metrics and align compensation
  4. Assess current talent strengths and gaps
  5. Identify high potential talent
  6. Activate capabilities of the talent pool
  7. Develop career pathing, mentoring, coaching and cross-functional opportunities for all employees not only high potentials
  8. Design learning and development outcomes to build organizational skills
  9. Develop a continuous feedback loop
  10. Test and refine strategy based on feedback


Kim West is the President of Royer Thompson Management and Human Resources Consulting