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The key to a firm’s future success has less to do with avoiding trouble than bouncing back from it.
Ongoing research from Harvard Business School Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter illuminates that resilience is a fundamental differentiator between companies that thrive and those that falter.
Because misfortune is universal, an organization’s ability to move beyond – and learn from – a fumble or unavoidable misstep is what differentiates the firm from its competitors.
Unfortunately, hardships are inevitable. Client relationships go south. Talented people leave. The economy throws you a curveball (that lasts years). Even the most “successful” practices are beset by unexpected setbacks.
Whether the event is avoidable or completely beyond your control, what matters most is how – and how quickly – you react to it.
Kanter writes: “Resilience draws from strength of character, from a core set of values that motivate efforts to overcome the setback and resume walking the path to success. It involves self-control and willingness to acknowledge one's own role in defeat. Resilience also thrives on a sense of community – the desire to pick oneself up because of an obligation to others and because of support from others who want the same thing. Resilience is manifested in actions – a new contribution, a small win, a goal that takes attention off of the past and creates excitement about the future.”
Three common factors underpin resilient people, teams and organizations, according to Kanter:
- Accountability: taking responsibility and showing remorse.
- Collaboration: supporting others in reaching a common goal.
- Initiative: focusing on positive steps and improvements.
Not surprisingly, these are the same traits that often distinguish high-performing architectural and engineering practices from their peers.
So in the end, mindset really does matter.