Ever since the pandemic, the winds of change have been getting stronger and stronger. As a consultant, you would need even more resilience to get through these times of uncertainty. Your clients could be away from your home, so you need the resilience to push forward. Today’s guest is Larry Hitchcock. He is a Partner, Principal, and Transportation Sector Leader of Deloitte. Larry is a man that thrives in uncertainty, as he has been serving Fortune 50 clients for over twenty years. Join Adam Markel as he talks to Larry Hitchcock about what it means to be resilient, especially as a consultant. If you’re new to consulting, you definitely want to listen to what you can do when you’re faced with adversity. Build up your resilience today!
- 0:44 – Larry’s Bio
- 5:34 – The Meaning Of Resilience
- 9:45 – What We Learned During The Pandemic
- 18:12 – Measurements & Outcomes
- 22:45 – Thriving In Uncertainty
- 29:38 – Tips On Overcoming Challenges
- 36:25 – Go-To Reset Rituals
How do we leverage continuous uncertainty to thrive in this unprecedented new world?
The answer is to build the resilience we need to power us through the challenges we face so that we become “Change Proof.” Prepare to tackle the future with confidence by reading Adam’s latest book Change Proof: Leveraging the Power of Uncertainty to Build Long-Term Resilience.
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Building Resilience In Times Of Uncertainty With Larry Hitchcock
On this episode, I have my friend, Larry Hitchcock. He is a Partner with Deloitte with more than twenty years of experience serving Fortune 50 clients who pursue growth and profit improvement through mergers, acquisitions, and strategic transformations. I enjoyed this conversation and I know you will as well.
Larry, you have a very succinct bio. It seems like we all throw the kitchen sink into our bios. You are very minimalist in summarizing what you do in the world, which is elegant. I’m appreciative that you did that, but I’m going to ask you a question nonetheless. This might be even more difficult for you to choose. What’s one thing that’s not a part of your bio that you would love for people to know about you at the outset of our discussion now?
I might give you two quickly. One thing that I think provides a bit of backdrop is I was a distance runner in high school. I was an avid sprint distance triathlete. You could say in a way, I was trained for resilience. The thing that most people are surprised by when they see my actual resume is that I’m also an avid Harley Davidson motorcycle rider, and no one expects that.
You and I got to have dinner together. We had a common client with whom we were working. I was there delivering a keynote speech. You were speaking at that event as well. We spent a little time afterward. If you’d asked me 1,000 guesses, would I say, “That guy is an avid Harley rider?” I don’t think I would’ve said that. I need to go a little deeper then. Where did that love of the hog come from and what’s the origin story there?
I’ve ridden motorcycles since I was a kid. I married my high school sweetheart who owned a motorcycle dealership that was not the right company. For 16 or 20 years, I was being loyal to another brand. When our daughter went off to college, my wife decided then that I wasn’t sending any bad signals about what acceptable behavior was and that riding a motorcycle is safe or good. At that point, I bought the Harley. No ink, but a big bike.
It’s so interesting and I don’t think we covered this ground when we last spoke either, but I’m also married to my high school sweetheart. A lot of people have done that, but not a lot of people are still married to that same person. You and I are in a different space there and very fortunate. Our roads diverged there a little bit. How many kids did you do you guys have?
We didn’t stop after the first amazing kid and we weren’t the greatest planners. We weren’t thinking too far ahead. In the end, we ended up with more kids. They ended up outnumbering us. The idea that all the things that we did were the things they paid attention to didn’t even dawn on us until they were 14, 15, or thereabouts and weren’t necessarily listening as much as we could tell they were observing.
Probably we were all thinking, “Are we modeling good and bad? What would that mean to them?” At some point in your relationship, you are allowed to get on a motorcycle again and I am forbidden. I’m just saying it because it’s the truth. However, I get on surfboards. I did that. I got beaten up in the surf.
When you and I are doing this right now, you’re in LA on a client engagement and I’m back in San Diego. I’m often on the road. You’ve spent a bit of time there too. I got in the water with my son-in-law and the waves were overhead and I got worked pretty well. I’m happy to be sitting in the seat with all my body parts.
I want to talk about resilience because in your answer to that question, you brought that up and I’m wearing the classic shirt that says resilience on it. I want to get a sense of what resilience means to you personally. I want to also get a sense of how you feel it means or knows it means within the context of the organizations that you and your firm, Deloitte are engaged with that you serve. There’s something in that word that is both understood and some misunderstandings about it. I’d love to explore it further with you.
I think about it in three ways. First is me personally but the second would be professional as a leader of practices within a firm, and the third as an advisor to executives. My definition in its simplest form would be resilience is readiness and the outlook to thrive when you’re faced with something unexpected. As I said, whether that’s me personally being prepared or if you have uncertainty in a client project or uncertainty in the economy that impacts our firm or our clients, you have to be prepared in those circumstances.Resilience is the readiness and outlook to thrive when you're faced with something that's unexpected. Click To Tweet
Do you see it as a soft skill or as a hard skill or as something that isn’t defined by either of those terms?
I’m not sure how you’re defining hard or soft. It’s certainly a soft skill in the sense that it’s hard to measure resilience. One through five, you’re a 5 resilient or a 3 resilient empirically. In that way, I would say it’s soft but it’s hard in the sense that it’s important. Some of the difficulties that we’ve lived through over the last few years are the pandemic, rising interest rates, and uncertainty about the economy. There’s a hardness to that. You have to be resilient in the face of things that are going on as a leader and in our case, as an advisor to clients.
This is a perfect opportunity for us. We can agree about things, but we can also see that the worldview can be a little different. Having been a researcher in this area for some time, I probably would’ve opted based on my own life experience to say some people are more resilient than others. Sometimes people are resilient because they’ve dealt with a lot more oddly. Interestingly enough, more early-life adversity or even trauma is often the case that those folks are more resilient later in life.
There are also lots of studies like the ACEs study, Adverse Childhood Experiences, which comes up with ten things that ultimately determine whether or not you’ve got a predisposition to certain physical issues in your life. Whether it’s high blood pressure, diabetes, heart or issues involving cardiovascular health or anything that can be sometimes related back to those early experiences.
I would’ve opted to say it’s more of a soft skill and you defined it perfectly because if you can’t define and you can’t measure it, then it falls in that soft category. Not that it’s not important, but you can’t empirically measure it. We’ve now been able to research about 5,000 leaders across the globe, and we find more than a raw score that some people are very adept at being able to be more ready in the face of change or in the face of disruption and that they have an outlook to thrive. The word outlook is a great languaging. I feel like that’s the mindset.
It’s mental, it’s emotional, it’s physical and on a certain level, it has to do with our alignment, which we would call spirit, but not in terms of any spirituality concept, but just more alignment. With the organizations right now that you are with, are you seeing that they’re preparing for the headwinds that appear to be already here and maybe greater headwinds that are facing us in the way of recession? Are those organizations focused on how they can build their workforce up and build them up in terms of their resiliency or is that on the radar as focus on wellbeing or other things or is it not there as far as you can tell?
With the clients that I serve, it’s a mix but certainly, within our firm, I don’t think it is as mixed. In other words, we’ve learned from the pandemic. We’re much more flexible about the way that we go about work, working hours, and the location of the work. We’ve done a lot to invest in people like redoubling our efforts to train folks to make sure that there’s the capacity even when you’re working remotely to meet with people that you’re connected to or want to be connected within informal gatherings, whether it’s dinners or gatherings in the office.
It’s a way to surround people and make that connectivity happen at the same time that you’re providing the flexibility to not be on the road five days a week. There’s a bit of a challenging convention that’s happened over the last few years. Many of us grew up in a consulting environment where some of us went to the airport on Sunday night and came home on Friday.
That morphed to leave on Monday morning, come home on Thursday, and now we’re a little more flexible in defining what makes sense. Is the work getting done? Are the needs that the clients face being addressed? Secondarily, the client location almost doesn’t matter as long as the work’s getting down and the client’s getting the outcome they want. That’s a very big mind shift that makes people more resilient to not having to go to that Monday through Friday or Monday through Thursday drill of traveling every week which is accepted as normal.
It is fascinating because I came out of not so much a similar profession but one that certainly integrates into the consulting arena as well and that was the legal industry. I was a lawyer for eighteen years and worked in a variety of different ways within organizations. The hours that lawyers put in are similar to the hours that partners or others within consulting firms put in are pretty extreme. We were not necessarily a model.
We talked earlier about modeling for our kids. We’re not necessarily a model for good work-life harmony or even boundaries. Not balanced, but more boundaries and things of that sort. The fruits of that would be seen in the legal profession for me in my experience with a high degree of misery, substance abuse, and physical problems.
Also, people that weren’t physically healthy and some mental health challenges that we didn’t often hear about, but you knew about. There were always the cautionary tales of lawyers that ran astray that would dip into their trust account or commit malpractice. The pandemic has changed the attitude and that mindset greatly in the legal profession. People are starting to also fall back on some of those other worn warning grooves on the record. I’m curious about what you think in terms of what you’re seeing within your firm. Does it feel like there’s a longer-term commitment, not just a bridge commitment at the moment to changing the way business is done?
There is and we’re in a unique circumstance in the services industry, just like you were as a lawyer. We’re highly dependent on attracting people who are highly committed, resilient people who want to work and sometimes in very difficult circumstances. In order to attract and retain those people, we’ve got to do things that make the environment suitable and attractive. It’s something that we talk about a lot.
We have done a great job over the last couple of years in asking leaders to show leadership in this area and to talk about how they personally deal with adversity. How they’re keeping themselves physically fit, mentally fit, and making it okay to recognize, “You don’t have to set it aside and ignore the challenges that you face or feel just because you’re a new consultant. Here’s a partner who’s been doing this for years that have faced these challenges and can point to ways that they’ve thrived in the face of adversity.”
As with a law firm, there are certain forms where you get people together directly or virtually, and they tend to be formulaic. Here’s a great new client that we landed. Here’s some great work that we’re doing. Here’s some investment that we’re making that’s going to make us all better in the future. That’s all well and good but we’ve also made it a point to find time to profile. “Here’s a fabulous out in the team to get away from the client work Monday through Friday.”
They took an afternoon off and did something together as a team or featuring people with photographs of their family and things that they’ve done on vacation that is enjoyable, that make them balanced and re-energized, ready to come back, and contribute the way we need expect them to. Those are changes that are small, and they’re subtle, but they send a signal. We’re looking at this in a way that we’re trying to be accommodating and understanding.
Consulting is a demanding profession, but there are ways to make it more accommodating. It’s not always routine as I described to you, fly out on a Monday, fly back on Friday, work twenty hours a day every day and go to dinner with a client one night. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are ways you can work around it, especially if you talk about it as a team and have leaders that set the right tone.Consulting is a demanding profession, but there are ways to make it more accommodating. Click To Tweet
For me, it begs the question, what are the ways that you measure things? I love that we began with this conversation on how we distinguish soft from hard in terms of skill because it would seem there’s a lot of transition across industries and modeling is one element of it. When the actual firm is focused on those things, it’s easier for them to share even those successes with their clients. I would imagine there are some that are happening too. I’d love to get a sense of maybe even what does this look like? Is there a ripple effect that you see that’s going out beyond Deloitte in connection with how you work with organizations in regard to that?
For sure. We field inquiries from clients all the time. Do you deploy teams every week, every month that are energetic, solving some of my most difficult problems and show high levels of commitment to the task at hand? They ask us, “What is it that you guys are doing? In terms of this virtual work environment where we have people in the offices, sometimes with clients, sometimes working at home and sometimes working at our university out in Texas.
How do you make all of that work and how could we adapt it? If you’re a more traditional company whose model is built on people showing up in an office and sitting in a cubicle doing work, what are the elements of flexibility that we’ve tried to put in place that could be applied by clients? It’s been curious to see those types of inquiries come in. Clients see something and observe something in our folks that they realize there’s something that we should maybe consider and model and take what we can and apply it in our circumstances.
How do we measure it? You brought that up and that is a valid point. If these things are important and it’s unmistakable that this has gotten on the actual radar screen now. I’m hoping that it stays on the radar screen, that it’s not just a blip until the world is different. I don’t think it’s ever going to be the way it was. It’s going to continue to be different but how do we measure it, do you think some of this?
I’m concerned about something which is the opposite of what you’re asking about, which is that we get overly focused on measurement. I could go into our internet site and look at my health and wellness dashboard. It will tell you the number of days I’ve stayed in a hotel. It’ll tell you the number of flights I’ve taken. There’s no shortage of measurements but if you get too focused on the measurements and not the outcome, then you can get yourself off in the wrong place.
We have historically low turnover in people that are delivering good results for clients that are satisfied with Deloitte. Those are outcomes, and you can look at the inputs that drive those outcomes, but you’re better off focusing on the outcomes. I don’t think you can overlook the inputs and my own opinion is that they only matter at the extremes. If somebody is utilized at a client location 7 days a week, 20 hours a day, they’re traveling seven days a week away from their families and friends.
They’re not doing anything healthy for themselves as a person. All of that data’s available and you can see, “That’s somebody who’s probably not in a good place and we need to reach out to them and understand.” Is it a client situation that it’s like that for a matter of weeks or is it something that’s going to continue and we have to intervene in some way to help them? Once at the extreme, it matters but I’m more concerned about making sure the outcomes are there. There’s no shortage of ways to measure the inputs.
I’m so glad you put it that way because I feel like there’s a good medium between the quantitative and the qualitative because the outcomes being engagement, less absenteeism or fewer accidents on the job, other measures to look at the KPI or those things and saying, “Our engagement survey this year is better. Our attrition rate is and we’ve closed the gap on that.” That’s super important but you’re right. If we were analyzing a stock or a company by way of its chart as a publicly traded entity, we might say, “What are these blips on the screen?”
Tell us, is the trend positive or negative? It may well be that some of that dashboard can be utilized in that way to say, “It could be this is the time of year,” the classic accountant stuff. My account was always miserable between February and May. I knew I couldn’t even ask him a question then. We would set up all of our strategic planning and stuff in October or November after the other time of the year when he was miserable, which was usually between September and the end of October.
You go, “There are times a year when certain things maybe are seasonal or what have you. If we can look for the signs, for the trends of their going down a path that wouldn’t ultimately be good for them, good for their families, their kids, or their other loved ones, that those things would ultimately translate into how they showed up in their work.” That’s proactive.
We’re doing both but I’m not worried about our ability to measure the details. I’m more worried, as you said, “Is their engagement score up? Is our retention rate high?” The results that we get for clients, the satisfaction data that we get, are they showing up and delivering the results that clients want? That’s what I want to focus on personally.
That makes a world of sense. I’d love to get a sense just because you defined it well. Readiness and outlook to thrive. Is there a place in your life that you could pinpoint, a pivot point, if you will where you said or you look back now and you go, “That was a pivotal time for me. I learned something about my readiness, or I developed greater readiness or greater outlook to thrive in that experience,” or is it been like you’re filling a bucket one drop at a time kind of thing?
If I had to pinpoint one, I would have to say it was going to graduate school. I’d spent a lot of my life and a lot of my early career being told that I was a top performer. You go to graduate school, and in my particular case, you go many months without any feedback whatsoever. You live in this period of anxiety where you don’t know what your performance is and you’re surrounded by people that are smarter than anybody you’ve ever met.
All of a sudden, it raises a lot of questions about who you’re competing against, who’s in your class, who’s in your section, and all those sorts of things. You find out when you get out and everybody’s by and large, unbelievably successful, but it was a two-year period of time that was incredibly intense. I felt like I was put to a test and stronger because of it.
I’d love to take that example and apply it, layer it on the time that we’re living in right now and I want to get your take on this. It feels like anxiety levels are at all-time highs for many people. Given the place we are in the economic cycle, it feels like there’s more anxiety and more unknown now and will be going for some time in that space. What is your experience as a grad student, can you look at and go, “This is applicable to how people might do things?” If you were teaching a course on how to develop readiness and an outlook to thrive in the midst of uncertainty, unknowns and anxiety, what would people be able to do that you did?
I would think about a couple of things. When there’s uncertainty or even adversity, people tend to focus on the adversity as opposed to what options that situation creates professionally, mergers, acquisitions, and restructuring practice. I’ve been through six bankruptcies. You could be in a position that’s probably the worst possible position for a company to be in both in terms of the morale of the workforce, the leaders and their position in bankruptcy. At the same time, as you would know, as an attorney, it gives you a chance to shred your contracts and reevaluate your assets and your people.When there's adversity, people tend to focus on that adversity as opposed to what options that situation creates. Click To Tweet
It is a chance, even in the most adverse professional circumstances to rethink what are the possibilities. To think about it that way as opposed to being downtrodden and thinking that the only way we could go is down further in even a bad situation like that. Another thing that I see is that both people and sometimes our clients fail to recognize that you personally are better because of the adversity you face.
I always tell our consultants who wring their hands about, “We’re in this economic downturn, and clients are even more discriminating about whether they’re going to hire consultants or not because we’re the ultimate, discretionary expense. Think about when you go through whatever turns out to be 16 or 18 months. You’re going to be a stronger consultant because you had to face the scrutiny of clients and demonstrate value during a tough time. When it was tough for them to scrape up the money to pay us.
The third thing that I feel about those situations where you’re either uncertain or in a tough spot is you need to have naysayers who are balanced by somebody who’s a positive influence. Not a Pollyanna where you’re ignoring the facts and the circumstances but somebody who has in the midst of that uncertainty point out, “Let’s look at this another way,” or suggest alternatives.
I’d say just as you did before. I even go flip the script on that and balance the positive people that are always seeing the glass as half full with some people that see the glass differently. You must have known this intuitively. I started my practice in law in bankruptcy. I handled a lot of Chapter 11 reorganization work at the outset of my career, which was interesting because I got to see where things went sideways.
I cut my teeth in business learning how businesses went bust, which was fascinating and devastating in so many respects. Yet, coming out of that, seeing those organizations and leaders emerge from those tough times was maybe high-water marks in my law career because I would come out of meetings of creditors or sometimes adversary proceedings with people senior levels in corporate leadership and organizations. Sometimes they come out of that room and give me a hug. It sounds strange to hug your lawyer.
The whole concept of hugging a lawyer is weird but there was such relief. The sense that relief from what new start was created, what new opportunity. There are three numerous chapters of the bankruptcy code. Chapter 7 is about liquidation. It’s the complete fresh start, 11 is the reorg, and that’s a different kind of a fresh start but there is this wonderful interplay within where you have people that if they see the world as two, one way or the other, there’s an issue there because you have blind spots. Right now, we know there are layoffs. There are layoffs that have already been announced. There are more layoffs that are coming. Let me put you in a scenario.
You are mentoring some young folks that are coming into the consultancy and they’re saying to you, “Larry, all we’re hearing is we’re getting all this pushback.” When we talk about the services and the need that we see for the services, people are tightening their belts. We are that first level of discretionary, cut-that-out kind of thing. How do you coach or mentor those individuals? Even from a standpoint of how you market or sell that service because a lot of people other than your people are hearing those very same things or have that concern right now.
My counseling would be number one, don’t extrapolate from your circumstances to the entire realm of consulting or even our firm. Even in a downturn, there are plenty of services that clients do buy and some things that we’ve had to do because of the circumstance over the past few years is to substantially invest in innovation.
There’s a conventional model where you build a certain number of hours for a certain number of services and we’ve looked beyond that to build solutions that clients will buy over time. We’ve looked at new and innovative services as well. From your perspective, it might look that way but if you look more broadly across our firm or others that are doing the same things, you then start to get a different vantage point and a different perspective on the downturn.
Another thing that is a curious thing that I would counsel folks is that it is odd that in the face of all the uncertainty we’ve had like the pandemic, these consulting firms continue to grow and be unbelievably resilient. In a way, there’s stability in the situation that you’re in and it also teaches you important lessons. As I said earlier, if you’re dealing with clients that are going through difficult times, if you’re at the client and you’re one of the client executives, you’re going to go through that 3 or 4 times during your career.
However, if you’re a consultant, you’re going 3 or 4 projects per year into difficult circumstances as a client, you’re developing a bit of acumen and perspective on what challenging looks like. You have that ability to show your ability to be positive and to see the possibilities even in tough situations. They’re putting themselves in a firm like ours where they’re getting good experiences to build that resilience that clients value.
It may have been the author of Good to Great. Was that Jim Collins? Is that who that was?
In an interview I read about him, he said, “The funny thing is that chaos is the rule and whatever the opposite of chaos is calm, peace, the quiet calm seas, that’s the exception to the rule and that’s a thing that people don’t often get. If you look at any point in time in history. Go back in 5-year increments or 10-year increments, and we could do it very easily. We were thinking that the world was falling apart in 2008 when Lehman Brothers goes bust. In 2005, there was a NASDAQ bust that was the end of the world. In 2000, there was the dot-com bust, and that was the end of the world.
Chaos is the norm and it’s similar. This is a funny little thing here. I’m amusing myself, but there’s a JL Collins who wrote a book called The Simple Path to Wealth and everybody should get this book. It’s a brilliant book for your kids to have or anybody at any age, honestly. The whole concept here is that if you simply invest in an asset class like stocks over a period of time, 30 to 40 years, this is what it looks like but if you look at it in 5 or 10-year increments, it’s going to be one world ending event after another.
The sky will be falling 4, 5, or 6 times in your work life. In your investment life, every time you’re trying to avoid getting crushed by the world falling on you, what you will end up doing is not having very much of an investment nest egg at the end. To recognize that’s the norm as Jim Collins said, and not get wigged out by it every time, try to move ahead or react in the face, you then get the long-term ROI from that steady approach to it.
What you’re saying makes a world of sense. There are opportunities in every scenario. If you can learn or be led to see those things, to innovate as you said, then not only does the firm that’s providing those services have a very change-proof way of dealing with that disruption but the people and the organizations that the organization serves also gets the benefit from that change proof approach.
What you said is something that I would offer as advice as well. You do need to have perspective. Plenty of consultants and plenty of clients that we work with didn’t live through the Great Depression. Many of you would not have lived through the dot-com bust in the 2000s. There are even a few that wouldn’t remember 2007, 2008, and all that. You have to remember when you’re in rooms with these people, whether they’re consultants or clients, all of that history that we remember, the oil shocks of the 1970s is not in their frame of reference. The world looks like it’s going to fall apart because you don’t have that perspective. That would be the last piece of advice I would give him. It’s been worse than you can imagine in this case.
Take a beat because we’re going to get through this, but how you get through it makes a big difference. I don’t think you need to get through it white knuckling the whole experience. You and I have gray hair when I let it run. That could be it. Larry, I’ve so loved getting together with you again. We enjoyed each other’s company that time we were together on that gig. It’s terrific to be able to reconvene the meeting.
It’s good to reconnect as well in this format rather than over dinner.
My last question is usually about your own personal rituals for your personal resilience. Is there one thing that you do on a ritual basis that is a go-to reset for you?
I would say some form of physical activity. In the summer, I do long-distance bicycling. It’s a chance to reflect and to get some quiet time to think about what’s important and back to this theme of resilience and being change-proof, you’re physically preparing yourself for whatever you face and whatever circumstances you’re in. It is probably that for me.Doing physical activities is a great way to prepare yourself for whatever circumstances you'll face. Click To Tweet
For me, it’s getting in the ocean or in the pool even.
It’s not as attractive to do that in Chicago no matter the season. I don’t think we can match your waves and we certainly can’t match your weather.
That’s why we made our big move, but we have other things which we won’t get into. For those of you out there that have enjoyed this conversation and who could benefit from it, maybe there is somebody right now that is white-knuckling the world, the environment we’re living in. They have a health concern about what the road ahead looks like where it might be that there’s an opportunity and they want to be thinking opportunistically. This might be a great conversation to share with them.
We’d love to get your feedback as well. You can drop any comment for us. I tend to answer all those myself, so there’s no bot there. It’s going to be me, and if it’s not me, then it’ll be an announced member of the team as well. When we think about resilience, it’s a snapshot for us. That’s what our experience tells us. In a moment, if you’re measuring it mentally, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually, there’ll be a raw score. It’s a curious thing to check out what your current state of resilience looks like.
You can go to RankMyResilience.com and get an assessment of that at the moment, and you can take that as often as you want to see and track exactly how resilient you are. Also, you can get your own scores there. Larry, again, thanks so much for being a guest on the show. If you want to find out more about Larry’s practice and the consultancy that he is involved with at Deloitte, you can check their website and get more information right there.
I can tell you that in the organizations that I’ve run, we’ve always made great use of consultants. The word I would choose to use in this instance, Larry is perspective. We are so often inside of an organization that we don’t even realize to what degree we’re operating within these four walls. Sometimes they’re pretty narrow and sometimes they’re expansive but often, we can’t see what we can’t see. Bringing in others that have been around the block and have seen you 1 cycle or 2 and have the perspective on what the opportunities might be in the current environment is vital. I know that’s the work that you’re committed to doing. Thank you for that, Larry.
I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation with Larry Hitchcock in this episode. He brings a very different perspective in some respects, being a consultant and somebody that’s routinely being deployed in organizations to problem-solve, create, and find creative solutions to situations such as in times of great challenge and disruption like the times that we are clearly living in. Not only because we are in a time of change but because the winds of change are blowing in ever more strongly.
We are feeling it more than perhaps I’d ever noticed us feeling it. I say us because it’s not only me. It’s the members of our team as well as the organizations that I have the great pleasure and blessing of serving on a routine basis. I’m frequently a keynote speaker at different industry, organizations, and associations meetings, as well as within the companies themselves that are looking to develop deeper levels of resilience within their teams.
I have this great honor of being embedded in situations where I get access to how people are feeling and how they are thinking. Often, I have that pleasure because as part of being a resilience, mental health, or work-life balance keynote speaker, any of those types of topics that I’ve routinely brought in to address, we deploy a resilience assessment tool ahead of time.
That’s remarkable because a great percentage of the folks that I’m going to have this meeting with will take this assessment a couple of weeks ahead of time and sometimes a few days ahead of time. We are then able to collect that data and aggregate information, present that information when I’m with them which is something that calls for transparency. It calls for a certain level of vulnerability on the part of the people who are doing that.
The good news is that the assessment is only three minutes. That’s probably the best news. It’s a short assessment with sixteen questions but ultimately leads us to be able to see where the people are strong and where there are gaps in their resiliency mentally, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually. I invite all of you to take your own resiliency assessment. Get your own baseline score in those four areas. It is very much a snapshot of this moment in time.
If you’d like to do that, you can go to RankMyResilience.com and get your own assessment. Larry and I got to talk about that in this episode, starting with how he defines resilience. From his perspective as a consultant, a partner with Deloitte, and somebody who is like me who drops into organizations routinely to talk about what is challenging them. What opportunities exist for their own transformation and their own growth and how it is that things have been working and where they haven’t been working?
I love the definition that he started out with when he said that resilience for him is readiness and an outlook to thrive. I hadn’t heard it phrased that way before and I was able to dig into that with him to get his answers on things like, “Should we be measuring our resilience? What does it look like?” He pushed back to say that not all things should be quantitative. We should be looking at it from a qualitative standpoint and we should be focusing on the outcomes.
Some of the outcomes that we are both interested in are higher levels of engagement. Less absenteeism and less injury on the job, less attrition and turnover. Keeping your talent, attracting additional talent, and engaging that talent to be productive. Those are the outcomes that determine in many ways or a signpost of whether an organization is resilient. There is a lot more detail in that when we look at individually how people are faring and how they are doing in times of great anxiousness like the times we are living in right now where there are so many unknowns. There are so many things that are uncertain and how that often shows up in the workplace.
It was key for me to hear Larry talk about how he encourages and mentors others around him to be thinking and seeing the opportunities and be innovative, especially when there are headwinds and we are seeing more signs of recession and more signs that things might get tougher in the next little bit here before they might get less tough.
One of the things he said that I thought was interesting was that we got to balance out the naysayers inside organizations with people who are more positive. People are able to see more clearly the things that there is always a tremendous opportunity where there is fear or inefficiency that is caused by a reaction to living with uncertainty or living in that fear space.
I countered what he said to talk about how we sometimes have to balance the positivity. The people in our organizations that see things as always positive, the half-full-glass people. Sometimes that positivity can even be toxic in the workforce as well and when that balances back with people who are more pragmatic at times or more realistic at times or other people who are willing to be truth-tellers. Sometimes even if that truth-telling feels as though we are focused on what’s not working and what the challenges are.
That equation is valuable. I love the fact that we are able to untangle that together. We were able to dig into that a bit. I love the conversation. I hope you do as well. If there is somebody that you think would benefit from reading this and learning what we had to noodle on, dig into, and chew on in this episode, please feel free to share this episode with somebody that you know and could benefit from.
We love the reviews and you can leave a comment on our website. If you would be kind enough to leave a review, those five-star reviews are helpful and you’d be doing us a great favor in doing that as well. If you called it and could make the time, we’d so appreciate it. I love this conversation. I hope you did as well. Again, I look forward to seeing you in the next episode. Thank you again.
About Larry Hitchcock
More than twenty years serving Fortune 50 clients who pursue growth and profit improvement through mergers, acquisitions and strategic transformations