Resilience vs. Persistence

This was an interesting conversation:  Can you have Resilience without Persistence?  Can you have Persistence without Resilience?  Are they interdependent?

Let’s assume that you are reading this because you are or want to become a leader.  Does an organization or a corporation need resilience?  It would be difficult to be successful without having faced and conquered some setbacks.  When would you need resilience?  Financial challenges?  Staffing challenges?  Economics of the area?  Time commitment problems?  Let us look at some of these.

Let’s say that you have a good organization going.  You have committed people, a great vision, and goals you can reach…until a financial fiasco happens.  Your treasurer suspiciously takes a trip to the Bahamas and isn’t planning to come back.  You are not ever going to get that money back.  Do you throw up your hands?  Some do.

What if you have a great product and all the resources you need to produce it, and cannot get anyone willing to work for commission to sell it.  How do you recruit people to commit themselves and their time to working for your company?  What if, after many months of success, your best sales person is lured to another company for a more stable income?  How do you fill that hole?!

What happens if you have a great group of people that love getting together and learning some skills and performing, and the national organization raises its dues?  Will your membership shrink because of the economics?  What if you sell luxury items and the bottom drops out of the local economy?  How do people afford your products?

If you want your group to survive, it must be persistent, and it must be resilient.  To be resilient, the goal has to be worth something to the people who pursue it.  When a ball bounces, it flattens when it hits the ground and then, in regaining its shape, it ALMOST returns to its starting position.  In regaining its shape, the energy moves it back up.  If it doesn’t regain its shape, it is splattered all over the sidewalk.  The resilience comes 1st.  But in order to get back to its starting position, it has to continue to add energy when it comes to the apex of its trajectory.  Something has to keep boosting the ball or it never gets all the way back up.  That would be persistence.

The resilience of the organization with the missing treasurer begins when the group decides it will replace the money by raising funds in some way:  soliciting donations, garage/bake sales, performing a service of some kind would slowly bring up the treasury of the group.  Do the vision and the goals expressed by the group move them to act on these suggestions?  Only if they mean enough.  If the group decides it is worth the effort, persistence kicks in to help them continue even if it looks improbable that their projects will ever succeed.

In the scenario involving staffing after the best salesman quits, the resilience comes in when you bring the matter before the other members of the team.  They must be convinced that the effort involved in doing commission work will be worth it.  What are the rewards of getting paid directly for your efforts?  Can you earn more than someone that relies on a salary?  YES!  Can you earn less?  yes. Can you work your own schedule?  YES!  Can you not work your own schedule?  yes.  Can you work your own schedule on a salary?  No.  Can you not work the schedule you’re handed on a salary?  Definitely Not.  Do you have the choice here?  YES!  Do you have the choice there? NO!  Then you give the same speech to your prospective employees.  The ones that opt for safety will not be good at commission work.  You must restore the faith in the group to regain the “shape” of your group, and then be persistent in recognition of your current crew and in hiring and training new people.  Resilience first, followed by persistence.

If you cannot affect the economics of your area, you have to be resilient enough to handle setbacks such as rising dues or a diminishing market, and creative enough to find solutions that will keep the spirit of your people up.  Once the resilience kicks in, the persistence keeps it going.

He could have quit.  He should have quit.  The resilience inside him got him to a standing position, and he hopped and limped down the track.  His hamstring was torn.  The recovery time for a torn hamstring is 3-6 months and surgery.  He’d be lucky to get back to a condition where he could run competitively again.  He knew he couldn’t win, but winning at that point was not the goal.  Crossing the finish line was the goal.  Finishing the race to the best of his ability was the goal.  But as you can see, he had support.  His dad gave him the courage and the will to persist to the finish line despite excruciating pain.

People will persist if they can see the goal is worth it.  They will be resilient if they know they have the support of those around them.  They will work to succeed because what gets them into the group or the corporation is what keeps them working toward the goal.  The desire to help someone, the need to be appreciated for work well done, and the compensation and the rewards/bonuses have an effect on their families.

Resilience and Persistence go hand in hand.  You can be resilient, bouncing back time after time from setbacks, but without persistence, you just get tired and quit.  You can be persistent and continue to work for a goal, but every setback will put you further behind, and unable to regain your “shape”–your goal and your desire to reach it, it will be easier and easier to quit.  To Truly be successful, you must have both resilience and persistence working together.

When Things Go Wrong: Five Minutes of Terror

crisis, not, low

crisis

When things go wrong. Five Minutes of Terror.

So I had about 5 minutes of pure terror this morning.

I’ve been seeking to add plugins to the WordPress framework upon which this site has been built. The plugins are intended to make better interaction with social media.

As is often the case with software development, generally, the routines that programmers put together do what they are intended to do internally. Most problems occur when bits of code written by one individual have to play nice with bits of code written by others. That is what happened today.

I added a plugin and immediately got an error.  Nervously, I proceeded to try and deactivate the plugin but found that the plugin had created an internal error. It wasn’t possible to deactivate the plugin. In fact, I couldn’t do anything. I was effectively locked out of my own website.

I’ve found that when you get hit in the gut, it’s important to take a moment, collect your thoughts, and think slow. Work the problem. I went to another computer to ensure it wasn’t something at my end. Sure enough the problem was server side. I then made a cup of coffee. I thought about what I should do. Let’s consider the wisdom of others. Google is your friend in such times. After a minute I learned that perhaps a solution would simply to go into the file structure for the site and change the name of the folder for the offending plugin. That way wordpress couldn’t find it and would hopefully as normal.

One of the virtues of the wordpress platform is it’s modular design. Plugins are self-contained in most cases so changes such as these are of lower risk. I made the change and low and behold… I am now typing this blog post on the site with fully restored access.

Whew!

Lessons Learned

There are several good lessons here.

  1. We remember the importance of good design and the separation of concerns. The more cross connected your structures area, whether that be in design or other organizational systems, the more difficult problem solving is.
  2. We further are reminded that it is at the point of connection when systems are usually most vulnerable. That is true for business units just as it is for coding.
  3. When problems emerge, it is important to stay clear headed and maybe to take a step away for a moment to ready yourself for problem solving.
    Work the problem by diagnosing and isolating the issue through testing. It does no good to randomly try “something” and hope things work out.
  4. Finally, try and tap into that vast reservoir of knowledge, wisdom, and experience that exists in the large community. Know that most people will try to help you if you simply ask.