UNLEASH resilience capabilities in your organization

There are quiet assets in an organization that may go unnoticed. In volatile times, where the use of business resources has to be maximized and “do more with less” is a management priority, unrealized assets are unacceptable. We actually have to find “more” in the “less” we have.

One of these assets receiving attention is understanding and maximizing quiet leadership (Cain, 2013; Thatchenkery & Sugiyama, 2011). Thatchenkery and Sugiyama describe how recognizing and promoting more quiet leadership strengths that often concentrate on the “doing” provide additional advantages to an organization. Another quiet asset is an employee-built resource called organizational resilience capacity, a ready “store of capabilities” (Vogus & Sutcliffe, 2007) for responding productively to almost inevitable change and adversity. In fact, quiet leaders with critical expertise may be crucial components of that productive change response.

Thatchenkery and Sugiyama (2011) describe “making the invisible visible”. That’s what it takes to unleash the power of collective resilience capacity, too. How can this be done? A first step is to ask “What specifically do we look for? How is this response capacity built?”

Truly leveraging people as “our greatest asset”

This is a common business mantra that might even be seen as a mandatory bromide. Yet, it is no truer than when building a hard to duplicate strategic advantage for responding to change. This advantage consists of specific attributes, especially related to purposeful communication and enacted capability, that are built up as employees work together. These are hard to create “in the moment.” Instead, we can be intentional about creating a reliable source of employee-built organizational readiness. We can make a storehouse of collective, workgroup-based resilience capabilities visible and actionable by assessing, strengthening, and supporting them.

A first step is assessment. How frequently or with what level of agreement do employees experience workplace beliefs and behaviors related to the capacity for a resilient collective response to change and challenge?

The second step is analysis of that data to create a kind of “heat map” around items with high means and least variation. These are considered to be strengths. Resilience is strengths-based. Instead of focusing on what is wrong, it is possible to harness energy around what is already going right, seeking to do more of that, to remove barriers, to spread the doing, and to leverage that value.

A third step is to use the quantitative analyses to start conversations about how these attributes are built up (or deterred) in your specific environment, with the goal of taking specific steps to unleash their value.

See tools for the analytical process here.

I look forward to discussing how to measure, strengthen, and fully activate this resilience advantage in your organization.


Cain, S. (2013). Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. Broadway Books.

Thatchenkery, T., & Sugiyama, K. (2011). Invisible Leadership What is Invisible Leadership?. In Making the Invisible Visible (pp. 41-59). Palgrave Macmillan US.