Learning from Covid crisis to build resilient leadership

The Resilience Shift launches ‘Resilient Leadership: Learning from Crisis’ report at TEDx Resilience Shift on 14 October 2020 (15.45-17.00 BST / GMT+1).

Following an innovative sixteen-week project bringing together urban and private sector leaders to reflect in real-time on leadership during the Covid crisis, global resilient infrastructure organisation, The Resilience Shift is launching its new report on: ‘Resilient Leadership: Learning from Crisis’ at 09.00 BST (GMT +1) on 14 October 2020. It will be published at: https://www.resilienceshift.org/showcase/resilient-leadership-report/

With participation from senior leaders at corporate global firms, the World Bank and major cities across Europe, Africa, India, Brazil and the USA, this new report captures the emerging lessons for resilient leadership when dealing with a major crisis, the insights gained along the way, and the power of reflective learning to build leadership capability.

The report will be formally launched on October 14, at TEDx Resilience Shift as part of the Ted Countdown project, the global initiative to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis, turning ideas into action. Four of the participants will be reunited with the expert listener who interviewed them, to discuss what has changed for them as a result of the project and what they have learned from the crisis. Event at: https://www.resilienceshift.org/event/tedxresilienceshift/

To attend the launch please email resilientleadership@resilienceshift.org

Findings include:
• The difference between ‘Resilient Leadership’ – the qualities of an individual leader, and ‘Leadership for Resilience’ – that enhances the resilience of the organisation, institution or community they lead.
• The innovations leaders and their organisations made in real time as they navigated the once-in-a-lifetime personal and professional challenge that is leadership during Covid-19.
• The need for leadership behaviours that optimise leadership strategies whether technical or personal and social.
• The common key themes across emerging insights at each stage of the resilience cycle of preparedness, response, recovery, and transformation.
• Three big overarching questions for the transformation of future leadership, including
o the need to bridge the gap between senior leaders and those entering the workplace, overcoming traditional leadership structures
o the need for city and corporate leaders to build on the break down of barriers between their organisations due to Covid, and to keep these conversations going outside of a crisis
o and the need for organisations to give strategic importance to the art of reflective listening and conversation as part of their development and to build personal/professional resilience of their leaders

About the Resilient Leadership project:
• 12 Global Leaders over 16 Weeks
• 75 hours of recordings and 21 podcast episodes
• 127 powerful insights and 14 Summaries and Visualisations
• Seven of the participants are senior executives in large, globally significant corporations: Arup, Lloyd’s Register Group, Optima, SAP, Siemens, the World Bank, and WSP.
• Five are the Chief Resilience Officers of a major city in Europe, Africa, India, Brazil and the USA, members of the Resilient Cities Network that supported the project.
• Each week, Resilience Shift Executive Director, Seth Schultz, joined expert listener Peter Willis to unpack the insights learnt from that week in blogs, podcasts and visualisations.

Participants: (full profiles on the project website)
• Dr. Adriana Campelo, Director of Resilience, City of Salvador, Brazil
• Peter Chamley, Chair, Australasia Region, Arup, Melbourne, Australia
• Hany Fam, Founder, Optima, New York City, USA
• Mahesh Harhare, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Pune, India
• Barbara Humpton, CEO, Siemens USA, Washington, D.C., USA
• Craig Kesson, Executive Director, Chief Data Officer and Chief Resilience Officer, City of Cape Town, South Africa
• Tom Lewis, President, Federal Programs and Logistics, USA, WSP, Morristown, New Jersey, USA
• Alexandria McBride, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Oakland, California, USA
• Piero Pelizzaro, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Milan, Italy
• Elaine Roberts, Chief Marketing Officer, Lloyd’s Register Group, London, UK
• Ann Rosenberg, SVP & Global Head of SAP Next-Gen, SAP Copenhagen, Denmark
• Dr. Stephen Hammer, Advisor, Global Partnerships and Strategy (Climate Change), World Bank, Washington D.C, USA

Seth Schultz, Executive Director, The Resilience Shift, said:
“The insights gained from the participants throughout the sixteen-week process will be hugely valuable to the future resilience and capability of senior decision-makers around the world. I am deeply grateful to the participants for taking part in the Resilient Leadership project and producing a report which can guide the way for a Covid recovery which embeds resilience into it, across organisations, infrastructure but also within people.”

Lauren Sorkin, Acting Executive Director, Resilient Cities Network, said:
“The Resilient Leadership project provides City Leaders with learnings from their peers empowering them to turn existing challenges, and this specific COVID19 crisis, into an opportunity to build resilience for a future where things inevitably go wrong.”

Barbara Humpton, CEO Siemens USA, said:
“We say hindsight is 20/20, but what about our vision in the midst of a crisis? This project is documenting the world’s response to pandemic, week-by-week, from the perspective of diverse leaders. The resulting narrative reveals the true nature of resilience as it takes root and grows.”

Craig Kesson, Executive Director, Chief Data Officer and Chief Resilience Officer, City of Cape Town, said:
“Building resilience requires an active process of reflection; the ability to use lived experience to inform present and future decisions. This learning initiative has allowed for the real-time accumulation of global insights which reveal what is common and different about this shared moment. It is a unique contribution to the living archive of what this pandemic will mean for all of us.”

Tom Lewis, President, Federal Programs and Logistics, USA, WSP, said: “Particularly in times of unprecedented crisis and challenge, leaders from different organizations can greatly benefit from sharing experiences with each other. The Resilient Leadership project has been invaluable to me in this regard.”

Peter Willis, Conversations that Count, Cape Town Drought Response Learning Initiative, said:
“Some leaders are naturally gifted in crisis situations, but most leaders can become good at this. The difference they can make to the outcomes in their city or organisation is hard to understate. The Resilient Leadership project brought demonstrates the value of reflection even amidst a crisis with no modern precedent and no certain end.”

About The Resilience Shift
In an uncertain and complex world, resilience matters. Resilience is the ability to withstand, adapt to changing conditions, and recover positively from shocks and stresses. The Resilience Shift is a catalyst for positive change toward more resilient infrastructure. Our mission is to help ensure the safety and continuity of the critical infrastructure and services that make our lives possible. From water and transportation through to communications and energy, it is essential to everything we do. We’re working globally to help define this and provide pathways from theory to practice.

Why does resilient leadership matter for infrastructure?
Covid-19 has put significant stress onto critical infrastructure systems from changed demand for services. You can’t extract infrastructure from global supply chains, public health, politics, or society.

It has made it clear how important the people in the system are, from end users, to operational teams, to those who are leading our organisations, cities and countries.

It has also shown us the importance of behaviours rather than a set of rules in times of deep uncertainty. The 127 insights from the report shine a spotlight on the adapted behaviours which emerged throughout the crisis.
The project website can be found at: https://www.resilienceshift.org/resilient-leadership/

About Peter Willis
Peter Willis pioneered the reflective learning process of the innovative Cape Town Drought Response Learning Initiative, in which 39 key people were interviewed in depth and on film. He has been working with The Resilience Shift since 2018, synthesising and disseminating this valuable learning resource to a global audience. He has been advising senior executives on risk and sustainability strategy since the late 1990’s and for 12 years was Africa Director of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership.

About the Resilient Cities Network
The Resilient Cities Network (RCN) is the city-led organization that is driving urban resilience action to protect vulnerable communities from climate change and other physical, social and economic urban adversities and challenges. The new RCN emerges from the former 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) program, pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, with an expanded partner base and will welcome up to 10 new members in 2020. Currently, the RCN is comprised of 98 member cities of the former 100RC program in 40 countries. Collectively representing 220 million city dwellers and 79 endorsed resilience strategies, containing over 4,000 city-led and impact-oriented resilience initiatives aimed at building safer and healthier cities.

Media contact:
Helen Civil
+44 7711 734456


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