July 15, 2018
By Jacki Hart CLM
Prosperity Partners Program Manager

Jacki HartThe above headline may very well be THE title for a book in my future writing dreams.

I’ve worked with hundreds of business owners over the years, and as I mentioned here last month, I’ve created my own list of skills that entrepreneurs require in order to rise to the top. Every entrepreneur needs the innate ability to always pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and keep moving forward. after an unexpected business blunder. The ones with resilience seem to steer their businesses well through both the thick and thin times.

A colleague of mine shared a pretty cool catch phrase with me many years ago, and it’s stuck with me ever since: Fail Forward Fast. In order to do this, to recognize, respond and recover quickly, business owners simply need to have a bit of steely resolve – steeped in resilience.

Business owners who climb through bumpy start-ups or sudden market changes are resilient. They typically know in advance that running a business will have its’ challenges, victories and unexpected events. What they don’t know, is upon which invisible skills they will need to depend on for success when a crisis arises.

In my experience, most entrepreneurs have the uncanny ability to see around corners — but there’s always something to which we cast a blind eye — and then eventually end up reeling from the jolt of difficult circumstance. How effectively and how quickly you move through and recover from these challenges speaks to resilience.

Here’s a few tips on how to assess your own level of business resilience:

See around corners: Resilient entrepreneurs anticipate and notice when things are heading in the wrong direction. Resilience requires the ability to both admit that Plan A isn’t working, and to figure out a Plan B in a hurry. Admitting you’ve made a mistake in judgment or planning requires the character trait of resilience (and a bit of humility).

Don’t skip a beat: WHAM! You just fell flat on your face. Whatever brilliant plan you developed for your business just failed miserably. But with that hefty dose of resilience in your back pocket, you will be able to regroup and make the necessary real-time shift in thinking and activities to get results back on track. The resilient entrepreneur doesn’t skip a beat when disaster strikes. They’re already devising the solution and a plan to recover.

Fail forward fast. The resilient entrepreneur is a solution-creator in the face of adversity. I’ve worked with many business owners who come to me without resilience. They are mired deeply in the drama of disastrous people performance or lousy communication. They are constantly managing disappointment and stay stuck there — staring at the problem, rather than successfully, purposefully navigating it. They spin in circles, spiralling farther away from intentional effective action. They lose traction when the going gets tough.

Resilience is the key to moving through failed leadership or failed plans, or both. And it’s a teachable skill. I’ve taught many business owners to shift their thinking and learn to be effective problem solvers in the face of adversity — so I know you can also do it if you try.

A great way to start working on improving this important skill is to step back and assess your performance. How well do you measure up with the skills you need to be a strong entrepreneur? Over the next several columns, I will share different unique entrepreneurial skills you need to consider taking stock of for your own leadership success. Last month, I discussed the skill of engagement. Next month, I will talk about the skill of maintaining focus.

Jacki Hart may be reached at info.peertopeer@landscapeontario.com.