New Manager

Resilience and relevance, a current need

T.T.SRINATH | Updated on May 27, 2020

A couple of months before we as a nation, and community, were enveloped by the malaise ‘Covid-19’, I was facilitating a workshop for mid-level managers, slated for leadership position, in a large IT service providing company.

The Centre Head of the enterprise used the opportunity to emphasise to the potential leaders that they could work towards being relevant yet making themselves redundant thereby, fostering new leaders while, moving up the value chain themselves.

He drew a diagram with four quadrants and defined them as under:

His recommendation to the managers was to continue to equip themselves with higher skills than they currently possessed at the same time making themselves available for larger roles allowing them to become redundant in their present position.

At that point of time it seemed a powerful way of encouraging managers to estimate their own futures.

In two months after that workshop, Covid-19 struck and with it many ideas that bore currency before the pandemic lost eminence.

For myself, as I contended with 14 days of quarantine and thereafter 21 days of forced confinement in a hotel outside my city of residence, owing to the lockdown, I realised that the model the Centre Head had presented may need to be modified as under:


Irrespective of whether one is in leadership position, an entrepreneur, in business or in employment, the need has shifted from being redundant to becoming resilient.

Thus it is imperative that each of us attempt to gain resilience to cope with the challenges we are facing and to battle the many fears that are consuming us. It is also important to make ourselves relevant when we are being forced to ‘reinvent’ ourselves.

The questions that I have asked myself are, ‘is it possible to develop resilience?’ and ‘can one make oneself relevant?’

To both these when I delve within the answer is a loud ‘yes.’

Resilience as understood is our ability to bounce back, to stay nimble and be able to respond to the challenges we face.

Relevance is the need to remain current, effective and productive.

Over the 35 days that I struggled with my sense of loss, both economic and psychological, I reasoned with myself and arrived at what I believe are five ways that I can equip myself to bounce back and stay nimble.

1. The power of self-appreciation: I have over the last 20 odd years worked alongside several people and organisations assisting them in their attempt at people development. I have been recalled by many organisations who have engaged me continuously for what I imagine was meaningful contribution to their organisation. Given this assumption I decided to revisit all the skills that I have demonstrated, the attitude that I have displayed and the energy I have invested to make possible what I have achieved. In so doing I was able to draw up a substantial list of my own achievements. When working through the list I was able to discover a pattern in my skills and attitude demonstration and this I noticed was what had consistently helped me gain notice and custom. In not allowing myself to dwell on my limitations I felt restored and comfortable with the competence that I had displayed over the years.

2. The power of acceptance: recognising that I may have to alter my approach to work and that at this point of time I may not have the necessary competence helped me dismantle several disempowering thoughts that I carried about myself and instead supported me recognise the need to accept my reality without having to rebel against it. In so doing I was able to focus on what I need to do to gain the necessary competence rather than stew on my lack.

3. The power of attitude: the keenness to look at the ‘windows in my life’ that were ‘open’ and not continue to stare at ‘the shut doors’ helped me view the possibility of seeking guidance without embarrassment. There have been several people who I have worked with and they represented to me the windows I could open out, towards my ‘relearning.’

4. The power of anticipation: the old adage ‘what you believe is what you see’ became apparent to me and I realised that if I believe that possibilities exist I might start seeing evidence of them.

5. The power of thought: in a seminal book ‘Mind over Mood’ written a few years ago, the authors prescribe the need to alter our thinking which they firmly believed will then alter our emotions and feelings. Thus instead of occupying my thoughts with what I do not have and consequently feeling low and depressed, by redirecting my thoughts to explore alternatives my ‘mood’ surely shifted from one of despondency to one of hope.

In The Hindu Businessline newspaper dated May 26, 2020, Mr. Vineet Rai, an emerging entrepreneur has been quoted. He recommends that businesses may gain from shifting their focus to what is required now and in the immediate future. Among his suggestions are the need to focus on are climate, energy, environment, health and hygiene.

We have already seen evidence of some organisations shifting from their core business to capitalise on what is required at this point of time. Notably the converting of some hotels into ‘Covid wards’, companies making hand sanitisers in their manufacturing facility equipped for a completely different product, designer companies making ‘designer masks’, companies making plastic consumer goods making visors, schools and teachers continuing their effort from physical contact teaching to online teaching and some organisations completely altering their business proposition by essaying in to areas they have not ventured earlier such as making home deliveries and so on suggests ways in which enterprises can continue to remain relevant. Individuals equipping themselves with tools and skills required to stay current will help them remain relevant.

Mr. Vineet Rai’s conclusion of the world as it will present itself to us in the future says it all. He concludes his interview with the newspaper by telling us and I paraphrase, ‘the future of our planet and its denizens will have to focus on sustainability and sustainability will be the centre of every decision that we make.’

(The writer is an organisational and behavioural consultant. He can be contacted at

Published on May 27, 2020

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