Catalyzing Connections Through Learning Together

Building Resilient Organizations: Lessons from the US Army and the Science of Resilience

24 Sep 2014 1:36 PM | Deleted user

Wednesday, September 17 kicked off our fall theme of Building Resilient Workspaces. Andrew Soren a graduate of, and Assistant Instructor at, the University of Pennsylvania's internationally renowned Master of Applied Positive Psychology and a Senior Advisor of Talent Management at BMO, provided a thought provoking introduction to the science of resilience.

There was so much applicable information and relevant tools introduced in this session it will be a challenge to whittle it down into a manageable blog post. I will stick with a few key take-aways from my perspective, and invite you to check out any number of resources at the end of this blog.

According to research, in particular Reivich and Shatte resilience is strongest as a result of six factors Emotional Awareness; Impulse Control; Optimism; Self-Efficacy; Flexible Accurate Thinking and Empathy and Connection. How we think changes how we feel changes what we do – this isn’t particularly new to OD practitioners; however, how the US Army and the University of Pennsylvania are applying this adage and the six factors is moving towards revolutionary.

Much of their work is steeped in CBT therapy. CBT helps us become more aware of our beliefs and thoughts and how they result in our triggers, which generate an emotional response and subsequent behavior. Andrew’s introduction to CBT and overview of Penn’s Train the Trainer model used with the US Army re-affirmed for me how as OD practitioners it is vital we continue to encourage the adoption of multi-modal programs as opposed to “magic bullet” events to ensure success in any area of focus.

Andrew also touched on the work being done through in relation to character strengths. Interestingly, if we are able to find new and different ways to use our top 5 character strengths our resilience and optimism will increase; this in itself could have amazingly positive impacts on an organization if utilized well.

This is just a snapshot of the session and if you were unable to attend we have posted the link to Andrew’s powerpoint below, highlight the link and right click to access the presentation. Other resources mentioned in the session:

  • The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys To Finding Your Inner Strength And Overcoming Life's Hurdles by Karen Reivich
  • Learned Optimism: How To Change Your Mind And Your Life by Martin E. Seligman
  •    - character strengths including free survey
  • University of Nebraska   - doing work on psychological capital (HERO: Hope, Efficacy, Resiliency, Optimism)
Download Andrew's Presentation:

Posted by: Beth Allen


  • 24 Sep 2014 3:49 PM | Deleted user
    Hi Beth,
    It was both a great presentation and meeting of TODN members. Could you tell me where the slides are?
    Link  •  Reply
    • 25 Sep 2014 11:32 AM | Deleted user
      Hi Richard,
      So glad you enjoyed it. The presentation has been added to the blog post at the bottom. Highlight and right click to access the powerpoint.
      Link  •  Reply
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