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Valuable Leadership Lessons from the 2022 Resilience Summit – Part 1

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Worldmaker hosted its 9th Annual Resilience Summit at Michigan State University in Lansing, Michigan, USA on October 28, 2022. 

Veterans and military community, crisis response, nonprofit and corporate experts gathered to share insightful presentations about leading through the uncharted territory of a global pandemic. These speakers and panelists supplied hope-filled ideas and new perspectives alongside the latest research on community and personal resilience building, leadership development and post-traumatic growth.

Attendees from a wide variety of sectors, such as government, nonprofit veterans support and mental health service providers, swapped lessons learned from the field and shared grass-roots strategies to help themselves and others navigate, recover and grow through 21st-century challenges. 

Keep scrolling to read part one of the Summit recap complete with tangible takeaways for leaders and worldmakers everywhere who want to increase their resilience skills.

The one not-so-secret ingredient of successful and resilient organizations

Robert Near, Deputy Director at Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA), and Dr. Mollie Marti, Worldmaker CEO opened the Summit by providing the current context of today’s pressing needs and opportunities and emphasized the key role of community resilience building: “If you are not intentionally and actively focusing on building community resilience, you are missing out on opportunities to save lives.” Robert provided an overview of Michigan’s successful initiatives to serve veterans and their families and outlined future opportunities to build on this success. When sharing data points of success, he noted, “The numbers are a result of relationships.” Robert highlighted the concept of moral injury, shared his personal experience and guided attendees on how to walk alongside veterans, healthcare workers and others who have experienced moral injury.

Takeaway: To lead a truly impactful and successful group of people, you must prioritize relationships and seek to understand what people are going through. 

One simple, yet profound, tool for effective decision-making in any situation

Jeff Buchanan, a retired Army Lieutenant General, valued Worldmaker board member and leadership consultant, has been tasked with making decisions in high-conflict, high-impact situations for decades. At the Summit, Jeff shared three key strategies to navigate tough decisions: 1. Define the problem. Leaders need to identify what the core problem is that needs to be solved before launching into problem-solver mode.  2. Know yourself and share what you learn with others. Leaders must be self-aware and actively share with others what they glean from personal reflection and exploration. 3. Separate what’s urgent from what’s important.

Jeff shared his prioritization tool of choice, the Eisenhower Decision Matrix. The key idea is that the effective leader’s focus is always on important concerns: If the important task is also urgent, then it should be completed now. If it is not urgent, one should plan when and how to focus on it, and allocate sufficient time. An effective leader simply does not focus on the unimportant items. Instead, the leader eliminates these tasks or delegates to others the authority to act on them. 

Takeaway: Effective leaders know themselves, take time to analyze the real problem before jumping into fix-it mode, and focus their time and energy on the most important tasks.

Three leadership non-negotiables in today’s workplace environments

Ivy Kusinga, Vice-Chair of the Worldmaker board and the Chief Talent and Culture Officer at Chubb, a global provider of insurance products and the largest publicly traded property and casualty company in the world, presented on resilient organizational cultures. Ivy began by identifying three macro trends that require a leader’s heightened attention: 1. An ongoing global pandemic 2. Conversations around social and geopolitical issues, such as systemic racism, the war in Ukraine and supreme court rulings 3. A labor market in flux.

From these trends, Ivy provided 5 guidelines for resilience cultures: 1. Disruption reveals assumptions; 2. Leaders need to zoom out and connect the dots across a wide range of fields; 3. Leaders are required to be more socially attuned and contemporary to make disciplined and adaptive decisions; 4. Leaders are required to incorporate mental health and well-being into organizational life and must be attuned to points of fragility; and 5. Leaders need to get comfortable with a lower center of gravity by mobilizing and empowering the workforce, including the younger generation.

Takeaway: Mental health support, social awareness and personal well-being are leadership non-negotiables in today’s workplace environments

“Self-care” isn’t selfish, & it doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming

“Stop what you’re doing right now and grab your phone. Send a text to one person you appreciate and let them know why you appreciate them. That’s gratitude in practice” That’s the request Vince Eure made of the audience during his keynote at the Summit. And the audience listened. The responses audience members received were heartwarming, and some hilarious. Here are a few, “Back at you, friend!”; “You made my day, thanks for the note,” and “Dude, are you okay?”

Vince is the 316 WG Community Support Coordinator at Joint Base Andrews (JBA). The 316th Wing is the host wing for JBA providing security, personnel, contracting, finance and infrastructure support for 5 Wings, 3 Headquarters, 80+ tenant organizations, 148 geographically separated units, 6,500 Airmen in the Pentagon, as well as 60,000 Airmen and families around the world. At JBA, Vince manages and oversees the community action plan which addresses the force’s overall resilience and well-being. Vince highlighted the work that JBA has done with Worldmaker over the past few years and how the THRIVE Model integrates into the force’s top priorities for mental, physical, social and spiritual well-being. The key, he emphasized, is providing simple yet significant practices, such as sending a text of appreciation to someone you are grateful for. 

Takeaway: Taking care of your own well-being matters and simple self-care practices, such as nurturing gratitude, can make a big difference.

Check out part two of the Summit recap for more powerful takeaways and tools to add to your personal leadership resilience toolbox!

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9th Annual Resilience Summit: Leading in a Post-Covid World

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