Resilience: The New Sustainability at Work

The inspiring work of Dr. Joel & Michelle Levey, Founders of WisdomAtWork.com

As tsunamis of complex change flood through our lives, world, organizations and communities, the need to develop greater change resilience, sustainability, and capacity to learn at every level becomes ever more clear.

In our work with leading organizations around the globe, the themes of “change resilience,” and “personal and organizational sustainability” are increasingly calling for priority attention. We are in, what the military calls, “VUCA times” – VUCA referring to a climate where Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity are the norm. These trends are likely to grow over time affecting billions of people in virtually every community and organization of our world. In VUCA times, developing an expanded capacity for resilience is essential to success in any initiative involving the sustainability and viability of individuals, organizations, and communities.

In response to these turbulent and rapidly changing times, our clients are realizing that as our colleague Sanjay Khanna, writer, futurist, co-founder Resilient People and Climate Change observed, “resilience is the new sustainability.” We anticipate that this interest will only grow stronger and more urgent over time and through the changes to come. (Note: We serve on the Board of Advisors for Resilient People and Climate Change.)

Our pioneering work exploring this theme of resilience has inspired thousands of people in hundreds of leading organizations around the globe including:  Google, Intel, M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Center, World Bank, NASA, Pentagon, Surgeon General’s Office, Intuit, Boeing, Clinton Global Initiative, the U.S. Army Special Forces, St. Francis Hospice, Hewlett-Packard,  Philips,  and many other organizations. Considerable data has been collected on the results of our programs and the enduring benefits that individuals and organizations have realized through our work together. Most of our client engagements are enduring and span many years. Many of our clients have found so much value in our work together that they have sponsored special programs with us for family members and community groups (hospitals, school districts, etc.) to share what they have learned in a larger way.

While the themes of change resilience, personal and organizational sustainability run strong in our programs, this work is contextualized and articulated in ways that reflect the unique culture, values, and needs of each of our clients. Although our programs can be standardized for large roll-outs, each program is custom-tailored to address the realities and specific needs of each client.

Here is a sampling of some notable projects in our portfolio of highly successful programs:

  • Special programs for Google’s Search Inside Yourself Programs focusing on Mindfulness, Change Resilience, Creativity and Innovation Enhancement, and Personal Mastery and Stress Reduction. Design and facilitation of Google’s “Mindfulness Laboratory” teaching skills for personal sustainability and resilience for technically creative leaders and software engineers
  • Special programs on Resilient Leadership for leaders of the World Bank Human Resources Department ,and work as consultants supporting the World Bank’s International Task Force on Work-Life Balance, and the Asia Division of World Bank
  • Design & delivery of the Jedi Warrior/Ultimate Warrior Program for the U.S. Army Special Forces – Green Berets. Our primary focus was on Advanced Biocybernautic training. This program was followed by invitations to offer special briefings for West Point Military Academy, USSOCOMM, SOMA, the Pentagon, and the Surgeon General’s Office.
  • Special residential workshops for senior leaders at NASA on the “The InnerWork of High Performance Leadership: Stress Mastery & Peak Performance at Work”
  • Teaching a Post Graduate MBA course on “High Performance Leadership & Resilience” at the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, India’s most respected business school
  • Keynote address on “Personal Sustainability in Times of Radical Change: Change Resilience, Mind Fitness, and ExtraOrdinary Capability” for Human Resource executives from dozens of companies in Greece at the KPMG Annual Conference
  • Chairing the Center for Corporate Culture and Organizational Health for the Institute for Health and Productivity Management and special presentation highlighting the vital role of leadership in developing healthy high performing cultures for the National Institute for Health & Productivity Conference
  • Facilitating a special meeting and dialogue between leaders of the Boeing 777 project and the executive team of the largest division at Hewlett Packard to discuss how to develop agile and resilient learning organizations
  • Special sessions on “Resilient Leadership and Sustained Business Success” for numerous annual invitational conferences hosted by Phil Condit, CEO of Boeing and a consortium of executive leaders from Boeing suppliers including: Rolls Royce, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, most of the major airlines, and other jet engine manufacturers.
  • “Tapping ExtraOrdinary Human Resources: Exploring the Mind Fitness Frontier” series of trainings for members and staff at the Washington Athletic Club, one of the most trend-setting city clubs in the world
  • Special seminars for engineers at a large aircraft manufacturing company based in Seattle, on “Mind Fitness and Peak Performance at Work: Exploring Our Capacity for Resilience, and ExtraOrdinary Health and Performance”
  • Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Keynote address and workshop titled “Resilience, Mastery, and Mindful Leadership” for the In2Thinking Network
  • Special workshop for the 2009 Pegasus Systems Thinking in Action Conference on Courageous Organizations titled, “Teach Them Courage: Insights from the U.S. Army’s Jedi Warrior Training Program”
  • Pioneering work on “Attention Leadership” in Copenhagen with senior staff of “Giga”, Intel’s newly acquired fiber optic cable company and Denmark’s most outstanding company that year
  • Invited special presentation for the National Institute of Health’s MindBody Week program to equip people with Resilience skills
  • Design and facilitation of numerous personal and team development sessions for Philips-Medical Instruments Executive Leadership Team, and manufacturing, sales, marketing, and service teams from the USA, Canada, Latin America, Australia, and Asian divisions
  • Change Activists in Residence for the Sustainability MBA Program at BGI – Bainbridge Graduate Institute – exploring the vital interphase of personal, organizational, community, and social resilience and sustainability practices
  • Special program for GOAL/QPC on “Personal Paradigms for Continuous Improvement” and on “Taking Quality Improvement Personally”
  • Design of the Intel-wide Edge-to-Edge Transition program focusing on an integral approach to leading systems change for all Intel leaders world-wide
  • Faculty for Seattle Center’s Leadership Institute offering Resilience and Personal Energy Management training for very diverse leaders and teams
  • Sessions for over 400 leaders and staff at Qualcomm on “Resilience: A Tool Kit for Living & Working with Dynamic Balance in Turbulent Times”
  • Core Faculty for International Center for Organization Design and the World Business Academy, facilitating sessions for leaders from hundreds of organizations around the globe. This work included our role a lead facilitators of a 1.5 year think tank that involved senior leadership teams from Petro Canada, Transalta Utilities, Shell, Gulf, and Imperial Oil in their work to re-envision their industries and their role and impacts oin global economy and ecology
  • National and regional workshops for the Association of Work-Life Professionals on “Dynamic Strategies for Living and Working in Balance” and “An Integral View of Work-Life Balance”
  • “Personal Mastery & Spirited Leadership” workshop for over 300 senior leaders of the Providence Health System
  • “Resilience and Personal Energy Management” training for AirTouch’s Y2K technology transition leadership team
  • Workshops on “Stress Mastery & Performance Enhancement” for Sun Microsystems’ Sun Peak Oracle Development and Integration Team
  • Intensive “Leader’s New Work” training for hundreds of leaders at Intuit software, and presentation with Intuit leaders to an overflow crowd at the Systems Thinking in Action Conference presenting the inspiring results of this work with Intuit leaders and teams.Extensive work with many divisions and leaders through Hewlett-Packard on themes related to personal, team, and organizational resilience and sustainability for H.P. Labs; H.P.’s World Wide Education Department; America’s Infrastructure Support; Test and Measurement Organization; LaserJet and InkJet Divisions; Microwave Instrument Division; Workplace Innovation Network.
  • We worked for many years with the senior staff of the largest division within Hewlett-Packard where, in addition to our executive team facilitation and culture development work, we offered executive coaching and team training related to Leadership Resilience, Personal Mastery, High Performance Teamwork, and Wisdom at Work.
  • We offered a Keynote address and workshop for the HP Work Innovation Network Conference on “Leadership, Integrity, and Personal Mastery”, and presented special workshops on “Breakthroughs in Creativity and Innovation” as faculty for H.P. Lab’s 25th Anniversary Earth Day “Walk Through Time.”
  • Special sessions for senior leaders of St. Joseph’s Medical Centers and the Sisters of Charity at numerous hospitals in Montana affirming the guiding vision and purpose of the network of St. Joseph’s medical centers.
  • Special Address to Commander, staff, and commercial suppliers of Vandenberg Air Force Base on the 25th Anniversary of the Moon Landing, entitled: “Exploring the Frontiers of Inner Space: Discovering The Resources of Mind Needed to Build a Better World”
  • Intensive programs for clinic teams throughout Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound (HMO), developing the capacity of all clinic personnel to work together cooperatively as high performing teams providing outstanding medical care to their communities
  • Design and facilitation of the “Live Well” Program for North Hawaii Community Hospital and residents of North Hawaii suffering from diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. This program produced dramatic results in high levels of improvements and clinical benefits.
  • Served as Workplace Wellness leaders for University of Hawaii’s NPAC Coalition
  • Clinical faculty for the University of Minnesota Medical School, and for NIH funded programs educating medical students in the personal and clinical applications of mindfulness and other self-mastery practices
  • A series of training events for the CEOs and regional leaders of Planned Parenthood on themes related to leadership development, resilience, and wisdom at work
  • A series of programs on Personal Mastery and Inspired Leadership at the Bretton Woods Learning Organization Conference
  • Keynote and workshops sessions at the national ODN (Organization Development Network) conferences in Seattle and Orlando on “Living in Balance: Keys to Personal and Organizational Success,” and “Personal Mastery and Resilient Leadership”
  • Facilitating seminars for the National Institute of Health’s Complementary and Alternative Health grants for workshops on “Meditation and MindBody Medicine: Resilience Skills for Physicians and Medical Students” for faculty and students from dozens of medical schools in North America
  • Special program for Hyperion America’s Sales Team on “Leading Teams Through Organizational Change and Transition: Keys to Resilience.”
  • Extensive team-building, leadership, and culture development work with a privately held company owned by one of the most wealthy and creative founders of Microsoft in the Seattle area
  • Steering Committee Members for Sustainable Kohala, developing regional programs in community change resilience
  • Extensive work with the Compassionate Action Network to develop programs that affirm and encourage collective wisdom and compassion in communities around the globe. See info on Compassionate Cities Initiative on the CAN website
  • Keynote address for Thailand’s National Education Conference on “Contemplative Education and Global Resilience”
  • Mentoring & training of youth leaders in a wide variety of educational & community settings
For more information and data on the inspiring and long lasting results of our leadership, team, and culture development work please contact us.