Development Solutions - strength and flexability

Actions for resilience

Over the last 12 months we have supported NHS organisations and private sector businesses to take actions to strengthen resilience.  This work with clients draws on our research in to resilience and ensures that clients are taking actions that will deliver results.

Here we look at some of the work currently underway to illustrate how actions can strengthen both personal and team resilience.

Defining resilience

Our approach to resilience is about prevention. We focus on keeping individuals and teams working effectively during times of significant pressure, change and shifting demands. Our aim is to keep people positive, confident and engaged in the toughest of times.

Resilience is the ability to use our strengths and be flexible to produce the best results in challenging times. Resilient individuals remain mentally strong and engaged. Resilient teams remain collaborative, innovative and effective. Our approach is grounded in positive psychology, and we encourage a positive mindset and a focus on workplace strengths.

Who delivers resilience?

We have experience of delivering resilience for both individuals and teams and also of developing internal facilitators to take forward the work across an organisation.

We are just about to complete developing 18 facilitators across 6 different types of NHS organisations. We equipped them with the skill, flexibility and resources to engage effectively with a range of teams in very different situations and with different needs.

Our work always starts by seeking to appreciate the current situation and moving forward from there. Diagnosis, co-design and planning are vital steps.

Actions to develop resilience

Personal resilience:  we encourage individuals to develop a range of strategies. This may include: appreciating their strengths, identifying supportive approaches to emotional & mental well-being and having a sound support network.

It is feasible, as some of our clients have shown, to embed resilience in employee strategies and performance management systems.

Team resilience for existing team: we have worked with clients to enable teams to foster their resilience.

In one NHS Trust they provided resilience events for senior sisters and line managers. These raised awareness and focused on these individuals on the impact they have upon their teams. In many cases this awareness lead in to further work directly with the teams.

In one case, a team was encouraged to share their workplace strengths by using a set of Strengths Cards: these define 24 workplace strengths in four groups – thinking ,emotional, relational and execution. Team members were encouraged to:

  • identify personal strengths;
  • offer feedback to colleagues;
  • plan for drawing on their strengths to meet current challenges and objectives.

The activity was adapted for use in a Development Centre to enable participants to reflect upon their strengths and to identify examples of how they had used them to deliver results.

example of strengths work with a team


Our clients are demonstrating that strengthening resilience can deliver outcomes and impact positively on productivity, personal wellbeing and engagement. Resilient employees then provide a positive experience for customers, service users and patients.

Where do you start?

It is important to start from where you are. That means unlocking data to understand the current situation. Every organisation has a wealth of data, about employees (eg: attendance; retention; staff satisfaction), customers (eg: complaints) and performance (eg: KPI’s). By looking across these you can identify and drill down to understand where individuals and teams need support. Once you know your starting point, then it is easier to decide a way forward. First steps are often the hardest; make that step and look for the small successes … you can build on these and help your team and business to be resilient in the face of new and different challenges.

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