Resilience is the positive capacity to bounce back and find a new homeostasis after disruption. In other words, the ability to sense and respond to change, and not just survive, but thrive.

In his classic book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl observed that without hope, meaning, and something to strive for, life becomes unbearable. Living without meaning and purpose robs us of energy and zest for life.

Employees without meaningful work cannot infuse energy into their work or the organization. Just like the people within them, organizations robbed of meaning will decay.

Here are our ideas of how to infuse experiences with meaning, for everyone, so each person and each organization has the foundation and navigation for resilience.

Four Attributes of Meaningful Experiences for Resilience

Cultivate Awareness

Where your employees’ awareness goes, your customers’ experience will follow

Nothing changes without awareness. Change requires breaking patterns. For patterns to break, the awareness of the people in the organization needs to transform.

To let go of what is requires each person to engage in everything they do with awareness. This results in each action, decision, process, communication and architectural detail being infused with consistent meaning, purpose and intention. Awareness is the foundation for creating experiences that are meaningful to both the employee and the customer.

“Leaders and consultants who place a personal mindset change for both themselves and employees
at the center of their organizations’ transformations will succeed.
Those who refuse to acknowledge this will fail.”

—Dean Anderson and Linda Ackerman Anderson,
Beyond Change Management, Advanced Strategies for Today’s Transformational Leaders


Foster Emotional Connection

Emotional connection provides the context for meaning

Every moment we are having an experience. Through neuroscience we understand that our systems take in about 20 million bits of data a second through our five senses. 98% of this is processed below our conscious radar, by the subconscious. The people (language, actions and attitudes), processes (how things flow and work; or don’t work) and sensory environment (colors, textures, aromas, sounds and tastes) all send messages that become our moment-to-moment experiences.

Our system processes all this data EMOTIONALLY FIRST. The brain catches up six seconds later, and at that point we begin to rationalize our response to an experience. No wonder we are stumped when people don’t seem to act rationally. “Rational” satisfaction isn’t the determining factor guiding our behavior – what matters is how we feel.

“No product or service can be better than the people who produced them.
Quality derives from emotional issues and the relationships between employees and customers based on integrity and respect.
As a result, productivity, innovation and quality depend more on the strength of the relationships and the emotional attachment of its people.”

—Charles Hampton Turner, professor at the London School of Business

Nurture the Entire Ecosystem

Everyone is simultaneously having an interconnected experience

According to physicists, the universe is made up of energy. “Quantum physics reveals that the universe is an integration of interdependent energy fields that are entangled in a mesh work of interactions.” (Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D., The Biology of Belief)

What does quantum physics have to do with meaningful experiences? You, your customers and your employees are enmeshed in the same quantum world – in the same experience. The employee experience cannot be separated from the customer’s experience. We are not able to distinguish between the parts of the whole experience. We’re part of an interconnected, holistic system. Each person in the organization, in every department, plays a part in the experience. Whether that experience creates a meaningful connection is determined by the intention, awareness and authenticity they bring to the moment.

“The tangible attributes of a product or service
have far less influence on consumers’ preference
than the subconscious sensory elements derived from the total experience.”

—Dr. Gerald Zaltman, How Customers Think

PencilsEmpower with Tools, not Rules

Employees cannot give what they don’t have

If your employees aren’t engaging in their roles in a genuine way with awareness, meaning and purpose ? in a way that matters to them and your customers ? everyone feels it. Emotions are contagious, and in our interconnected experience we’re all aware on some level of the emotional terrain of others.

Employees can be genuinely empowered. Establish clear direction with tools that organically infuse meaning to transform attitudes and actions from the inside out. When you put “how people want to feel” as the focus it clears the clutter and simplifies. With the clutter removed, which is often identified as internal barriers, new possibilities arise. Everyone is empowered to make the same decisions differently – with awareness and meaning. Meaningful purpose results in focused action and resiliency.

“Instead of a management philosophy centered around the manager as the play-caller,
assigning tasks and motivating people to carry them out, we are told by the neuroscientists that the new management job is one of facilitating more of a customized, do-it-yourself process centered around each newly-energized employee, one centered on questions (often leading) rather than direction.”

—Are You Ready to Manage in an Irrational World?, Harvard Business School Working Knowledge