Resilient leadership in real-time

Talking Resilience with Seth Schultz

One of the things that we’ve done at The Resilience Shift that I find particularly interesting and noteworthy is our work to ‘learn from crisis’ with the City of Cape Town after their Day Zero drought event. This was a retrospective reflection, as opposed to our new project on real-time Resilient Leadership. (more about that later).

With Day Zero, we took a different approach to what was initially a case study. Working in partnership with the Cape Town Drought Response Learning Initiative, we mapped out the learning from the case study through a library of video recordings, now available to share.

These films capture interviews with a number of different people that were associated with decision making at the time of Day Zero, whether at the City level, in the municipality, within the engineering consulting sector, private business owner and elsewhere.

Participants talked about what happened, what they did, how the crisis was averted and what the learnings were. Most importantly they spoke freely and honestly about how they felt, reflecting with the value of hindsight and authentic experience.

When we’ve shared these reflections, the response has been phenomenal. People can see these and learn from them in a different way, in a more dynamic way, to gain insight on what matters for resilience. Working with our partners, we have set up and organised these reflections so that those interested in a particular sector or question, whether citizen engagement or stakeholder activities, can see what worked or didn’t work for that particular crisis.

We are now building on this approach to capture honest and authentic reflections, in real time, on decision-making for resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Weekly interviews with 12 senior leaders, from both public and private sector organisations, reveal how they are addressing the Covid-19 challenges. It also provides insights on the differences and similarities between the private sector and the public sector and allows a transfer of approaches and experience when it is needed most, which is right now during the crisis, not after it is over. These honest reflections will help us to learn from crisis and become better and more resilient leaders.  See who is involved.

Resilient Leadership

At the end of the project, reflections and conclusions from the overall experience will be further distilled. This experience aims to provide very high-quality intimate insights into what constitutes good leadership in such exceptional circumstances, and what it means to shoulder the burden of large responsibilities in such times. With over 80 hours of interviews planned, this will become a valuable archive.

I am grateful for the project participants for their time, dedication and willingness to learn in real time with us and each other, and as a result, they are contributing to the future resilience and capability of senior decision-makers around the world.

I am hosting, with Peter Willis, the regular weekly podcast reflecting on what we’ve learned as the initiative, and the crisis, progress to its, as yet unknown, end. We discuss more about the aims and ambitions of the project in this introductory podcast shared below.

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