Resilience can be achieved in at least two ways.

Event-based resilience is when we respond to each event that occurs in a successful manner to resolve tensions in the space. This approach is the way some of us achieve resilience during parts of our lives or particular events. We each have particular gifts that match up well when aligned with particular conditions. We rely on our capability to overcome the demands of the conditions placed upon us in the moment. It is, however, that moment, event, or series of events that is not directly in alignment with our capability that gives us trouble. That’s why someone who has been and appears to be resilient encounters periods of demonstrating little or no resilience, for example, when being downsized, outsourced, or struck square-on by a midlife crisis that never seems to end.

Event-based resilience is important, but it less effective than path-driven resilience, which, rather than relying on one’s natural disposition, uses success and failure to resolve tensions over time. It encompasses acquired capabilities that allow us to learn from the current situation, regardless of success or failure.

Let’s look at some examples of resilience:

● A salesperson overcomes a client’s negative attitudes to get the sale.

● An athlete overcomes a stumble to win a race.

● A leader transcends negative stock market news to merge with a large company.

● A person fights back feelings of self-doubt and moves ahead in spite of fear.

● A parent picks up a fallen child and nudges the child back into the game.

● A partner, after losing a significant other, resolves to find another relationship.

Each of these examples shows some degree of resilience in responding to an event. Each is valued for the response made in the moment. We are correct in calling this resilience, yet in most of these cases, if you really look into the attributes and the tensions, you’ll find that more than likely, the actor’s capabilities matched the requirements of the situation.

For every such example there are hundreds in which the person was unable to meet the conditions of the demand environment.

● The saleperson turns away from the sale, assuming the customer’s negative attitude means disapproval.

● The athlete stumbles and . . . falls . . . failing to finish the race.

● The leader fails to transcend negative stock news and pulls back from the merger.

● The person’s feelings of self-doubt inhibit reaching out to others.

● The parent picks up and soothes the fallen child and removes the child from the game.

● A partner, after losing a significant other, assumes blame for the failure and avoids another relationship of significance.

Here we find that people’s capacities are not matched to the event or conditions. Some, over time, may find the capability to meet these types of challenges, but in many cases, the failures become reinforcement as to why they can’t succeed. While everyone has some resilience, what produces the truly resilient person, profession, business, or network?
Path-driven resilience is a way to produce resilience across a wide bandwidth of conditions. It is natural to only a few—those people who naturally have hardy personalities and remain resilient through success and failure. But it is possible for most.

If it’s not in your nature to be hardy, you have a much different path than those whose nature it is to remain hardy through thick and thin. I see people making the mistake of trying to model outwardly the hardy personality for others. This reflects the humanist philosophy of blank slate, which claims we each can be nurtured to be anything we want to be—or in the case of resilience, we need to be.

In my opinion, this ability to learn the hardy personality is not probable. Except for a very small number of people who have the natural gift of “being anything they want to be,” when we generalize this “nature” to all those nurtured, the results are inefficient approaches to training, development, success, and resilience.

If you’re not one of those truly lucky ones with nature’s gifts of resilience, the CPR System will help you to enhance your success rate over time.

Over the years, I’ve realized that I’m naturally one of those hardy personalities. You might say along with it that I don’t get ulcers, but I’m a carrier! Just by telling people how I’ve done it, or how I do it, is not enough, as I’ve discovered over my many years of working with people. What I’ve discovered that really works to create resilience is to create a path of purpose resulting in a resilient design.

This is where I’ve arrived in supporting increased resilience with the people I coach and the systems I work in and around—through design.

Poet David Whyte recounts how a mountaineer has perfected ways to carry the minimum amount of weight, whereas a kayaker can take large heavy, bulky items that would be prohibitive for the mountaineer by allowing the water to carry the weight. The analogy is that you don’t have to carry the weight of resilience. The design will carry the weight if you understand the territory.

The difference in this approach is so fundamental that it will shake the entire organizational development paradigm in the next sentence. People in large part don’t change. While it’s true that people can sometimes change their behavior over time, in most business and organizational environments, betting on that is not paying off, or is paying off too slowly. So if we operate instead on the fundamental principle that people, in large part, do not change except over long periods of time, then what are we going to do in the short term?

So often people go from one self-development program to another, each failing to change the person’s resilience profile. This is hard on the people and the system. Change is expensive and inefficient—and disconcerting to the person who can’t learn as a result of having a resilience profile that, while stable, is out of alignment with demand conditions.

The alternative is to support people in creating resilient designs that carry the weight they can’t in terms of the requirements of the demand environment. With the CPR System, we’re not in the change business, we’re in the design business!

Let’s go back to our examples of failed resilience above to show you what this might look like in real life. What if I’m in a high-change, turbulent, or volatile environment? What would make the difference between failure and success over time? What would really prepare me for the next set of events? Would what I need to do today that would work for tomorrow and so forth?

The paradigm of resilient design doesn’t assume you can be anything you want to be, so in many cases it will limit the resources provided you during the remediation process. This is, in a sense, a new morality. A paradigm of design realizes that each of us has gifts. It is up to those in intervention to support us in identifying those gifts and applying those gifts in a manner that promotes a resilient design, sustainably.

Those of us who are less hardy may still, from time to time, use available resources such as food assistance, healthcare, mental health services, job retraining, or even user-purchased interventions such as training, development, coaching, counseling, or consulting. No reason not to make available the same resources used in a failed morality under a different paradigm of intervention!

In this book I demonstrate, however, how resilient design can be accomplished that provides both event-driven and path-driven resilience. While this system will not necessarily end all of your suffering, as suffering is the journey of life, it will provide you with an efficient, effective, and sustainable set of tools that you can rely on to live your life in the pursuit of happiness.

Our goal is to create a path of resilience whereby events can occur and we respond to them effectively—and where we understand ourselves enough to know when we’re off the path. The path of resilience must therefore be a path of discovery, disclosure, and acceptance.

So what is this design? In short, resilient design encompasses all of the constructs that are created or emergent to resolve the tensions or meet the tensions in a demand environment. A building is designed to withstand the elements and to provide for the requirements of the people using the building. A business operates according to fundamental principles of commerce and therefore survives through its alignment with the market environment. A community is resilient in design when natural forces are unable to deter its ability to serve its constituents.

How do we solve the disparity between our resilient capability and the requirements of the demand environment?

This is where CPR is different.

1. It assumes people can’t, won’t, aren’t willing to change.

2. It assumes that while we may in some cases be able to reduce the requirements (especially since we can use resilient path design to avoid conditions where known disparity occurs), we will inevitably face requirements out of alignment with our capability.

3. It also assumes that while people can’t change much, we can create free energy through our gifts, which can be used in contribution and design to resolve disparities during events or over a series of events.

4. CPR assumes that power, accountability, authority, and responsibility are emergent and can be designed with a system through engagement, through iterative mapping of discovery, disclosure, or acceptance.

5. The way to create efficient design is both proactive and iterative: learning what works because of who we are and what really doesn’t work because of who we really are. We learn to avoid those situations where known disparity is located, when possible; and otherwise to respond to those events with a systemized approach created through resilient design, which releases free energy into the system for change.

Designing a path of resilience consists of creating or belonging to a system that promotes efficient, effective, and sustainable responses to demand requirements both now and

● The current rule sets or operational paradigms advantage certain types of gifted persons and disadvantage the rest, which leads to lower levels of sustainability across systems.

● Personal change efforts often don’t work, and even when they do, they cost too much or work too slowly.

● We’re all suffering more than we have to as a result.

● Instead of trying to be anything you want to be, be everything you can be.

● Our current change methodology emphasizes personal change as the answer to disparities between demand requirements and capability to meet those requirements.

● A shift in focus is needed to put efforts toward creating effective design rather than changing the person.

● Resilience is designed over time through an inter-connected path rather than disparate events in which we rise to each new occasion.

Without a path of resilience, success often results from a lucky intersection, not a designed intersection, of current capability and current conditions. It is like the shifting sands in a desert—here today gone tomorrow in many cases.

Author's Bio: 

Lead Author Mike Jay has been a professional business coach, consultant, and entrepreneur for more than forty years. An award-winning U.S. Marine and collegiate athlete at Texas A&M, he initially parlayed his leadership experience into retail and agribusiness innovation and, subsequently, management success in medicine, hospitality, and business services. In 1999 he founded the world's premiere business and executive coach training system. Through more than 10,000 hours of coaching sessions, Mike has accumulated a global resume and served business leaders in more than twenty-seven countries in such companies as Aditya Birla Group, Avery Dennison, Banswara Fabrics, Bharat Petroleum, Blow Plast, Cadence Design Systems, Carat, Central Bank of Indonesia, Coca-Cola, DLine, Duraline, EDS, Eureka Forbes, Exxon, Ford, General Dynamics, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Godfrey Philips, Godrej, Grey India, GroupM, GSK Consumer Healthcare, Hewlett Packard, Hindalco, Hi Tech Carbon, ICICI Prudential, Ispat Group, JK Tyres, Lupin, Marico Industries, Mediaedge, Novartis, Pantaloon, Pepsi, Rediffusion DY&R, Reserve Bank of India, Telekom Malaysia, Vodaphone, UGS.