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5 ways to Build Resilience in Business – Sustaining Strong Leaders and Organizations


Sarah A Scala, M. Ed & OD
Reading Time:
3 minutes

Resilience has become a hot topic recently in business. Organizations face constant change that can be unsettling to leaders and employees. Years ago, I read the book Flourish by Dr. Martin Seligman (University of Pennsylvania). Known as the founder of Positive Psychology, Seligman’s research, detailed in this book, explains the importance of resilience. Since then, I have studied and taught business leaders and organizations ways to strengthen resilience, especially through challenging organizational change. Unlike IQ, resilience is a skill that can be taught and developed. Seligman’s work produced a model for resilience called PERMA.



Positive emotions can be enhanced by optimistic views of your life. Engagement is often measured by organizational survey, and strong engagement is proven to have an impact on the business bottom line. Relationships and social connections also build resilience. When we have strong relationships with close friend and colleagues, we are better able to overcome challenges.

Meaning defines purpose. Work that has meaning fuels resilience and optimism, giving people the ability to bounce back from adversity. Accomplishment is the last piece to strengthening resilience. We need to expect that some things in life may fail. However, strong business successes helps to offset failures. To learn more about PERMA, watch Seligman’s talk on his PERMA Model or visit his Authentic Happiness website at the University of Pennsylvania.  

According to the American Psychology Association, there are many additional ways to build resilience.  One way is to simply move towards your goals and take decisive action. I find that if I am stuck or feeling down, even taking the first small step towards progress helps me feel better. My decisions are not always perfect, but movement gets me out of feeling stuck.        

Nurturing a positive view of yourself and looking for opportunities for self-discovery are other ways to bounce back. When I wake up, I journal and write 5 things that “I AM”. Most of the time, these are positive, including descriptors like optimistic, hopeful, energized, humble, grateful or excited. I also remind myself humbly that “I Am Awesome”, which at least gives me a laugh in addition to moving me towards a positive space. Lastly, taking care of ourselves is a great way to regain resilience. During tough or stressful times, I try to take a break and run, walk, or ride my bike. The world always looks better when I return back to work.

Instead of 5 ways to strengthen resilience, I have given you 10 with the hope that you will try some of the ideas for yourself or those that you lead. Developing resilience benefits the business bottom line by increasing engagement, retention, and success with organizational change.     

How do you or your leaders maintain or strengthen resilience?  Leave a comment to share.

Questions? Let’s connect. I would love to hear your success stories. Please send them to: or visit 

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