‘Resilience-in-action’ is key to team success

By Kathleen Sutcliffe*

The backwoods and business offices seem worlds apart. But a sport in which competing teams navigate wilderness courses using hiking boots, mountain bikes, and boats has provided a Johns Hopkins University researcher with a context for studying how organizations handle adversity.

Whether in the wild or in a corporate tower, teams that practice “resilience-in-action“—not just bearing the shocks of extreme situations, but also finding ways to persevere and even improve—are poised to emerge as winners, says Kathleen Sutcliffe.

They found that the more successful teams developed resilience through the processes of “drift management” and “meaning management.”

*Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, co-authors study of how organizations handle adversity.