After spending 25+ years in the world of business psychology and organizational change, I have gravitated toward resilience as the focus of my professional work. Why? Because I believe that everyone has the seeds of resilience within them, and that learning to weather life’s storms with grace and skill is important for us all. What I bring to the work: A PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, with a minor in Statistics/Psychometrics. Twenty years of experience in organizational change, including working closely with Daryl Conner, author and expert in the field. A gift for simplifying complex things. A love of music, sailboat racing, and travel. Training in bodywork, Aikido, and listening. And a lot of experience in trying to practice what I preach. I’ve written one book (Managing Change with Personal Resilience) and am working on a couple more, developed several tools (including the Personal Resilience Profile and Team Synergy Profile) and associated training materials, and I love speaking, writing, and consulting on resilience, organizational change, assessment development, and related topics.
A Little Bit of History
Developing the Personal Resilience Profile
I get a lot of questions about how the resilience work came into being. Although everybody seems to be talking about resilience these days, I got started in this area over 20 years ago, when it was a relatively new area of study. In 1990 I left the academic world (at that time I was a visiting associate professor at Georgia Tech) and became the Director of Research and Diagnostic Services/Assessments at a firm called ODR, which had been founded by Daryl Conner a number of years before. Daryl was just about to publish his first book, Managing at the Speed of Change, which focused on resilience as a central theme. ODR had done an extensive literature review on the topic of resilience, and one of my first assignments was to figure out how we could measure it.
We took the literature review, extracted the core concepts that ultimately became the resilience characteristics, and built a set of questions to measure each dimension. After pilot-testing, we reduced the number of items to create the current Personal Resilience Questionnaire tool, and we designed the Personal Resilience Profile (PRP) feedback report. The report has changed somewhat over the years, but the tool has stayed the same. We also developed a two-day training program called Developing Personal Resilience (DPR), including exercises for each of the characteristics. That is the great-grand-daddy of today’s resilience training materials. The tool and training were immediately popular with clients, and our database grew to the point where we could report the scores as percentiles, which we still do today.
Over time, we developed additional tools and materials (group charts, the Team Resilience tool and report, a tool on Organizational Resilience, etc.), programs to teach others to use the PRP and deliver the DPR program, and the PRP Handbook (a reference guide for practitioners). We had (and continue to have) a number of masters’ and doctoral students who used the PRP in their research, and had the opportunity to translate the materials into several languages. I partnered with author Mark Kelly to write my first book, Managing Change with Personal Resilience.
Starting Resilience Alliance
Fast-forward a few years to 2007. ODR had become Conner Partners, and the firm was not using the resilience material very much. I approached them about licensing the material to start my own company, and they agreed. I invested in the automated online system we now use for processing and administration, and got started. Since then, we have continued to grow our client base and our product and service offerings. The PRQ/PRP have been translated into additional languages, we have added new tools, updated materials, and continued to keep up with new developments in the field (such as mindfulness, neuroscience, and other relevant topics). Our most recent development is the launch of My Resilience Gym, a site aimed at individuals who want to learn more about developing their own resilience.
As we look toward the future, we are excited about the widespread recognition of the importance of resilience, proud of the part we have played in bringing the field to its current state (particularly as it relates to developing resilience in organizational settings), and energized by the things we continue to learn from science, our clients, and our own experience. We will continue to enhance and expand our offerings, publish new books, and help build a more resilient world.