Resilience – A Necessary Rx for Success

Let’s face it—the workplace can be a challenging and unpredictable environment. Whether you’re working in the pharmaceutical industry, where healthcare providers are experiencing burnout like never before, or dealing with personal hardships like economic recessions or family illnesses, we all want to overcome the obstacles life throws our way. While external factors may be beyond our control, focusing on what we can control—our behaviors and mindset—can make a significant difference.

In today’s world, organizations and individuals alike have recognized the value of building resilience. However, defining resilience isn’t always straightforward – in practice, we hear resilience defined as the grit to persist when things get tough, the strength to persevere when obstacles arise, or the refusal to give up (to name a few). Even industrial-organizational psychologists – researchers who have expertise in data-based approaches to defining and applying psychological ideas to the work world – have proposed over 100 different definitions of resilience. It’s clear that there’s more to resilience than meets the eye.

In this blog post, we aim to share our expertise in the psychology of resilience and our experience working with pharmaceutical and biotech companies to provide a practical overview of resilience at work and shed light on the behaviors that can lead to stronger performance.

Access the full
whitepaper now!

So, What Exactly is Resilience?

Although there are many definitions out there, two fundamental assumptions consistently emerge: a person faces a threat or stressor, and resilience is the ability for that person to adapt positively to that threat or stressor. Based on research and our practical experience, we see resilience as a type of stress resistance people can develop that allows them to cope with acute or ongoing stressors. In short, while everyone tends to differ in their baseline level of resilience, a person’s resilience can be developed over time through interventions, such as coaching, training programs, and self-driven developmental practices.

What behaviors or mindsets are important to resilience?

Now let’s explore some of the key behaviors and mindsets that contribute to resilience:

  1. Perceptions of Control: How much control do you believe you have over the outcomes in your life? The perception of control is a crucial aspect of resilience. Studies have shown that when individuals feel a lack of control, their performance, attitude, and motivation suffer. For example, imagine a salesperson struggling to sell a product to a healthcare practitioner. Those who perceive themselves as having control are more likely to try new techniques, seek help from colleagues, and adapt their strategies. On the other hand, those who feel helpless or unlucky are more likely to give up on the opportunity.

  2. Goal-Setting Strategies: Goal-setting plays a significant role in resilience. The process of developing and pursuing goals provides direction, energy, and sustainability to our behaviors at work. It’s important to distinguish between different types of goals and understand their impact on commitment. Intrinsic goals, set for personal reasons, tend to elicit stronger commitment than Extrinsic goals set by others. Approach goals, focused on achieving positive outcomes, generate more motivation than Avoid goals, which aim to prevent negative outcomes. Meaningful goals, associated with personal significance, tend to foster greater commitment than Inconsequential goals, which are associated with less personal meaning.

  3. Grit: Grit is the perseverance and passion individuals have toward their long-term goals. It’s the ability to keep working diligently, despite challenges, failures, and plateaus. Gritty individuals view their goals as long-term commitments and maintain effort and interest over time. While grit and resilience are closely related, they are truly distinct concepts: Grit alone is not enough — perceived control, the nature of long-term goals, and engagement in hardy behaviors all play essential roles in resilience.

  4. Hardiness: Hardiness encompasses three sets of behaviors: control, challenge, and commitment. Researchers consider hardiness as a predictor or subset of resilience. Control, as mentioned earlier, is the belief in the impact of personal efforts. Challenge is the tendency to view change as an exciting opportunity for growth, while commitment is the deep involvement in activities or goals. These hardy behaviors complement the idea that resilient behaviors can be learned and have a significant impact on coping with workplace stress.

A Time to Grit and a Time to Quit

Although there are many definitions out there, two fundamental assumptions consistently emerge: a person faces a threat or stressor, and resilience is the ability for that person to adapt positively to that threat or stressor. Based on research and our practical experience, we see resilience as a type of stress resistance people can develop that allows them to cope with acute or ongoing stressors. In short, while everyone tends to differ in their baseline level of resilience, a person’s resilience can be developed over time through interventions, such as coaching, training programs, and self-driven developmental practices.

Final Thoughts

In summary, resilience is the ability to adapt and cope with threats or stressors. By focusing on the behaviors and mindsets that influence resilience, we can enhance our ability to thrive in a changing world. Perceptions of control, goal-setting strategies, grit, and hardiness are key areas to consider. However, it’s important to recognize that there’s a time to grit, and there’s a time to quit. Building resilience requires self-reflection, self-awareness, and sometimes the courage to make necessary changes. By emphasizing these behaviors and mindsets, we hope to inspire individuals and organizations to thrive in the face of challenges.

Stay tuned for more white papers and blog posts from Mix that delve deeper into improving resilience and building a resilient workforce.

About the Author

Nick is an industrial-organizational psychologist by training and a talent consultant at Mix Talent. His expertise in research includes motivation, resilience, occupational health, analytics and selection, and his expertise in practice includes building and administering selection and development assessments, developing surveys and reports, and conducting analyses using Excel, R programming, and machine learning. Nick began his career working within healthcare research at the National Institutes of Health, and he has since shifted to a career providing support to Fortune 100 and start-ups alike within the life science/biotech industry.

Scroll to Top

Download: Resilience – A Necessary Rx for Success Whitepaper

Let's Mix!

If you’d like to learn more about what we do, get in touch and discover how we can help you make it happen.