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The Stories behind 'Resilient PARTNERS' Part 1 - Allan's Story

Updated: May 13


This week sees the launch of my and Emma Hossack’s ‘Resilient PARTNERS’ Team Development Programme, a programme that will develop both the resilience of your teams and their performance.


In this two-part blog, we’d like to relate our individual stories as to how and why we both are passionate about developing resilience in people and teams and how the ‘Resilient PARTNERS programme came about.


This week - Allan’s Story.


It’s only recently (in the last two years) that resilience has really come to prominence for me. It had always been there but I had not paid too much attention to it. I just accepted that resilience was there and everyone had a degree of it. Some more than others. Resilience is now a ‘buzz word’ in corporate language and in many respects, not before time. Having said that there is still a lot of misunderstanding around what exactly resilience is, and what it takes to develop resilience. I still hear managers say that it is ‘mental toughness’ and that it can be developed by events like ‘Tough Mudder’ and training with the SAS and the ‘Paras.’ This might develop ‘physical’ resilience and to a degree ‘mental’ resilience but some of the most resilient people I have ever encountered would never even attempt ‘Tough Mudder’ type events and in fact they would probably ‘suffer’ as a consequence of being put through them! In 2020, just at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic I left my well-paid corporate job to go self employed once again. I had done similar in 2001 when I left a very good job with pharma giant, GSK. In both instances, the decision to leave was fully my own. The reasons for leaving on both occasions were similar but with different circumstances. In both instances, though, I felt that my overall life purpose was not being fulfilled. There were elements of this purpose in both jobs but not enough to really make me satisfied that I was delivering passionately what I wanted to deliver for both myself and other people. Now on both occasions, people have said to me that I was ‘mad’ – giving up the salary, the security, the pension, and the benefits such as the company car and private medical insurance. Others congratulated me on being ‘principled’ and for pursuing what I really wanted to do. One said, “You’re too damn resilient for your own good- but I believe that resilience will stand you in good stead as you are passionate about what you do and good at it.” It was then that I started to look more into what resilience actually was and what it really meant for people in the workplace.


Looking back on my life there have been similar comments from friends and colleagues about my resilience. On the rugby field during my playing days, I was seen as someone who would ‘not only tackle a 'brick wall' but try to run through it.’ In reality this was because I wasn’t fast enough to run around it! When I played football, even the toughest tackle saw me get to my feet quickly as opposed to some of the theatricals we see in today’s modern game. The fact that I had been brought up to ‘bounce back up and dust myself down’ after setbacks and to ‘never give up’ if I was enthusiastic about something, obviously had a profound effect on how I behave in later life. If you add in, let’s call them, ‘life events’ such as bereavement, family illness, job loss, and a life-threatening heart attack whilst at the gym around six years ago, then all these potentially added to my own resilience ‘reserves.’ Whilst reflecting back during the early days of the pandemic, I decided to look into resilience in more detail, and it was then that I was re-united with Emma Hossack. Emma and I had worked together at a pharma company between 2009 and 2015 when she was an account manager in the south of England and I was firstly, a team coach, and then a sales team manager. So, when I saw her profile on Linkedin and saw what she was now doing I reached out to her. Emma was now an accredited ICF (International Coach Federation) coach as well as being a Resilience Practitioner. It’s funny how the universe works! We got in contact and Emma was great in explaining more about what resilience actually is. Immediately there was a recognition that a combination of Emma’s individual resilience coach work may work really well with my team performance coaching. I had developed a team development process called PARTNERS which enables teams to develop their potential and improve their performance. At this stage, though, I wasn’t exactly sure how the excellent individual resilience work of Emma (she did my profile and coached me through an action plan) would fit with my team performance work and with PARTNERS in particular. I needed to do more research on resilience in teams.


My research proved very enlightening and highlighted that the PARTNERS process actually provides a very strong basis for developing resilience in teams. I learned that to develop resilience in teams you need to ensure you provide the following:


Structure - the PARTNERS process gives this structure overall)


Focus - within PARTNERS there’s a drive to get clarity of goals, roles, and responsibilities.


Psychological Safety – Individual Needs and Expectations covered in PARTNERS.


Continual Learning – Review is crucial and learning from experiences and ensuring development is also covered via PARTNERS. We track progress through assessment.


Trust – There must be a strong level of trust between team members, between team manager and team and also between team and senior stakeholders. All this is covered by the PARTNERS process.


Enabling and supporting teams through the PARTNERS process drives not only performance but also resilience. The evidence is clear.


So, the links between Emma’s individual resilience coaching work and my team development work are very strong because both interventions build resilience in both individuals and teams. The big danger is that you can have a team of individual resilient people but if they don’t have structure, focus, psychological safety. continual learning and a high degree of trust then that individual resilience can be severely tested to the overall detriment of the team and the business.


And this is why we have combined forces to create ‘Resilient PARTNERS’ – we truly believe that ‘Resilience builds Performance’ across both individuals and teams. And with so much change taking with corporate restructuring, changes in teams and redefining of roles the time is right to ensure that organisations take steps to really build resilience across the organisation - and take teamwork seriously.


Next week – Emma’s story.



If you would like to know more about our 'Resilient PARTNERS' team development programme then simply direct message me through LinkedIn or via email at allan@resilientpartners.co.uk

Alternatively call me on ++ 44 (0) 776 416 8989

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