Develop Perseverance To Thrive In The VUCA World

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Develop perseverance to thrive through uncertainty. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. But is it really that simple?

Perseverance is one dimension of our personal resilience. flowprofiler® defines perseverance as:

  • The ability (or skill) to bounce back
  • To be persistent
    To deal with what is in front of you
  • Thrive through uncertainty

And by jove, don’t we need that last ability right now in the VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous)!

The Harvard Business Review defines VUCA in the following way…

“Individuals with high levels of resilience have been shown to have an increased capacity to bounce back from adversity and thrive in challenging situations. Research also shows that resilience can be developed, and there is now a range of strategies to enhance resilience levels. The key message is that leaders who want to thrive in a VUCA world and flourish under pressure will need to develop and maintain their resilience on an ongoing basis.”

Dr Lynda Folen, People Management, September 2022

The spectrum of perseverance

All employers should value perseverance in their people. But how many actually look for it when hiring, developing and promoting? Sure, you can ask the question, ‘tell me about a time where you succeeded against the odds’. But perseverance could be as simple as turning up to work on time day in, day out or maintaining focus when the outlook is bleak. Everyone has different thresholds of perseverance. What is easy for some, will be challenging for others. The ability/skill of perseverance helps us to push through periods of monotony and mania alike. It’s a hugely valuable asset at either end of the spectrum.

With low perseverance, the outcomes are obvious. Giving up, defeatism and low morale are all in there. Low perseverance blocks productivity and sours workplace relationships. But there is a flipside to perseverance. When overused to an extreme, especially when under pressure, perseverance can be unbending, alienating and ultimately destructive. Think of the micromanagers and control freaks in your organisation. If only they knew how to take their feet off the pedal, smell the coffee and rethink their strategy.

Engage your perseverance beyond what is reasonable and proportionate, and you’ll find others will struggle to engage with you. You won’t hear the home truths that a great team can deliver which prompt an appropriate change of course. View perseverance as always a good thing at your peril. Balance, and the ability to be objective, is key.

Discover your perseverance

So how do you measure your perseverance? By whether you succeed or fail in a task? Frustratingly, it’s not as black-and-white as that. Despite your best efforts, the outcome you’ve worked hard for might not meet your expectations. Does that mean that you didn’t try hard enough, or were there factors beyond your control? Our perseverance it’s on a scale which slides around according to the pressures we face.

Think of those co-workers who, day to day, are laid back to the point of comatose. They appear to barely pull their weight, but when the ante is upped, they spring into action and thrive on the uncertainty. These might be people who also lack purpose day to day yet are energised when faced with a big deadline.

We humans are a perplexing sort. From the outside we can make little sense to each other, causing friction and fallout. resilienceflow® enables us to understand and articulate where we sit on the sliding scale of perseverance, and the other dimensions of resilience. It takes our answers and creates a profile that we can share within a team setting, or act on as individuals.

Learning more about our resilience is a step towards optimising our own performance at work and the relationships we have with our coworkers. Take a free trial of resilienceflow® and join us on Monday 26 September for the FREE flowprofiler® dimension lab perseverance.

Develop your perseverance with resilienceflow®

Join us online at midday on Monday 26 September for the FREE power skills series: dimension lab® Perseverance

Contact us to learn more.

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