What is resilience?

What is resilience?


1. What is resilience?

Originally a physical phenomenon, then applied to psychology, is a concept that is increasingly being used in the economic field. Initially, it was a body or material's ability to withstand a shock or deformation.

Today, by extension, the term refers to the ability to "bounce back" after a violent shock or trauma, to rebuild oneself in order to continue to develop and to project oneself into the future.

Let's take the example of a fire: the fauna and flora are destroyed and yet a few months or years later, nature takes over again, the vegetation grows back, and the fauna comes back, but differently, with other species. It is a whole ecosystem that will be put back in place. This new organisation is not necessarily stronger than the old one, nor more fragile, it is just different.

For a living being, a fortiori a human being, the mechanism is the same and takes various forms.

The shock of the ordeal can put us in confusion and chaos, both at the individual and organisational levels: we then have instinctive emergency defences: denial, flabbergastedness, panic, confusion, flight or anger reactions that make us look for culprits, etc. (see Tool Sheet "The Grief Curve").

2. The 4 factors of resilience

According to Boris Cyrulnik, a neuropsychiatrist, the ability of people to "bounce back" after a traumatic shock is based on 4 main factors:

  • 1 intrinsic factor (linked to the individual):

The person's temperament, representations, and motivation. Generally, resilient people refuse to fall into the role of passive victim. They forgive, and show positivism, courage and perseverance to get back on track and continue their lives.

  • 3 extrinsic factors (related to the environment):

o A protective, caring emotional environment.

o The possibility of sharing what has been experienced with other people.

o An understanding and supportive environment.

3. Developing resilience

  • A challenge for the individual: to better understand the crisis scenario in order to better navigate it and gain efficiency and tranquilly; to better accept what they are going through; to learn and even acquire new talents. It's as if one had to rebuild a strong foundation (connection with oneself, one's family, and others) before thinking about a rebound.
  • A challenge for the organisation: resilience management. This ability to bounce back from a shock has become important in a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous). It must enable companies to respond to 3 main challenges:
  • o At the individual level: managing fears and stress to continue to develop

    o At the team level: encourage mutual support and the search for new solutions

    o At the organisational level: adapting to a VUCA environment