Freedom, Integrity, Excellence, Resilience, Curiosity, and Engagement
At Unleashing Leaders, these six core values are the guiding principles that influence every organizational decision and every interaction with our clients, partners, and colleagues. As a collection of FIERCE individuals, we strive to exhibit each tenet of this value system in our collaborations.
Well before COVID-19 descended upon the world and ravaged our personal, professional, and social spheres, organizational resilience was vital to our business model. But now—with the threat of recession looming over all of us—resilience is a strategic imperative that we must all embrace.
A recent trend report from Gartner Research defines organizational resilience in the digital age as “the ability of an organization to resist, absorb, recover and adapt to business disruption in an ever-changing and increasingly complex environment to enable it to deliver its objectives, and rebound and prosper.” At UL, we pride ourselves as being courageous and agile stewards of the digital workspace that many of our clients are currently navigating—sometimes for the first time.
Don’t get me wrong. We have experienced moments of crisis and uncertainty in navigating this uncharted and troublesome landscape. Yes, we’ve had our break downs, but we’ve used those opportunities to regroup and attack the challenges that have arisen with fierceness.
As the newest member of the intrepid UL team, I have witnessed firsthand how resilience intermingles with agility and intention to build organizational strength within our ranks and with our clients. In my indoctrination into the UL ethos, I realized there are a few critical components to achieving resilience. Adaptation, proactiveness, integration, unity, and collaborative spirit are instruments of organizational success.
In our internal assessment, we realized that we also needed to pivot—not only to survive but to THRIVE in this new ecosystem of insecurity. During what I like to call our rediscovery phase, we realized that revisiting and taking a deeper dive into one of our core values, Resilience; we would emerge as a more durable, better-equipped organization to face today’s challenges. Not only as a team, but also for our clients.
Resilience has positioned us as a leader in this endeavor. Here are a few of the outcomes that emerged during our internal assessment:
Adaptability: In embracing the ethos of the design-thinking model—a methodology that UL fully embraces, it also provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. Our organization recalled how we were able to adapt during the Great Recession in 2008. We made conscious choices towards an intended goal, evaluated what worked, and then instituted rapid changes within our dynamic environment.
In addressing the current climate of uncertainty, we imagine our place in the existing space several steps ahead to mitigate the pitfalls of the unexpected. That’s where the minimum viable product (MVP) component of design thinking comes into play. MVP is a version of a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers and provide feedback for future product development.
We employ MVP on the daily in delivering viable solutions that build on continuous improvement, for both our clients and in our internal ecosystem. Change, as they say, is the name of the game here.
As we aspire to engage our clients in being responsive to adversity and risk, we must also be able to react quickly and appropriately in a manner that matches the severity and impacts of the situation at hand.
Proactivity: The UL team and its leadership fully embrace the idea of being ahead of the curve in predicting, detecting, and responding to early warning signs in the market to inform our delivery of services before it escalates into a business disruption.
Being proactive in our approach allows UL to mitigate pitfalls that may arise in our internal and client-facing interactions. I call this the magic eight-ball approach.
Integration: UL fully embraces interdependent and integrated processes, systems, technologies. More importantly, our team rejects the silo mentality. For decades organizations operated within this constraint and proved only to create divide and strife. We learned that a resilient staff contingent is one where cross-training and preparation ensure the workforce is proactive in identifying organizational risks—before they are exploited.
Unity: At UL, we unite in celebrating and practicing our shared mission and vision throughout the organization so all individuals can rally and support one another through difficult times. Being united in purpose includes the ability to identify, negotiate, and resolve current and future disruptions that plague every organization during periods of crisis.
Collaboration: Finally, as someone who came from the nonprofit sector—yes, I spent nearly 20 years working in organizations that relied on strategic partnerships to survive—I must call out our leadership for realizing just how much collaboration feeds resiliency.
At UL, our resiliency derives from collaborative, communicative, and cooperative interactions. By building a more resilient UL team, we are creating mechanisms for sharing ideas on how to address organizational needs, acknowledging employee fears and stress, and responding to employee concerns about their livelihood by providing transparency around business conditions and performance.
Ultimately, resilience plays a role in each of these modalities, and I, for one, revel in our resilience. When a challenge comes our way, we say, bring it on!