Are You Building Resiliency?
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

You and I will be tested this week. We will. Both you and I know that our best-laid plans will be challenged. When this happens, what will we do? How will we respond? As a leader, how we respond will say everything everyone around us will need to know.

How do we build our resiliency? Resiliency is a set of skills a leader needs to practice and hone. Whenever we are enhancing our capabilities it comes down to being intentional. Over the years, I have watched the leaders I respect most to see how they respond in times of adversity. It has been during those times that I have learned what it takes to become resilient.

My first assignment in the Army was to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum. I was a brand new 2nd Lieutenant right out of West Point. I became the Assistant Brigade S-2 of the 10th Mountain Division of the 1st Light Infantry Brigade. The S-2 is the Brigade Intelligence Officer. Not long after I arrived, the Major I worked for was reassigned. Within a few short months of joining the unit, I was the interim Brigade S-2. It was neither planned nor expected. My new assignment was to serve the Brigade Commander. COL Keene was a distinguished Infantry Officer who was a combat veteran. He was leading the 10th Mountain Division at the time it was being reconstituted. It was a daunting task. How did I do it? I learned to be resilient.

We only get to live one day at a time. Each day gives us a chance to listen, learn, and lead. All around me were soldiers, non-commissioned officers, and officers. Most with many more years of service than I had. I did a lot of question asking, listening, and learning those next few months. When you ask, people are very generous. I learned to trust those who worked for me. They helped me be successful. Our mission and purpose surrounded every action. What I had was the willingness to be taught – daily. This is a skill I still use today. Each day I would set out to do my best, give my best, and learn what I needed to know. I developed calmness in the face of the daily storms. If I gave my best, so would others. In time, a Captain was assigned as the permanent Brigade S-2. I was later given the chance to be both the 3-17 Cavalry Squadron S-2 and the 10th Mountain Aviation Brigade S-2. In each situation, I would listen, learn, and then lead. I expected challenges and would address them head-on.

With the world changing so fast today, we will all need to be more resilient. We need to use today’s challenges to make us more resilient for tomorrow. We will need to listen, learn, and lead. We will need to remain calm in the face of unexpected challenges – and opportunities.

Are you ready for unexpected challenges? How will you demonstrate resilience? How can you help others weather the storms of today and tomorrow? What new skills will you need to be better equipped to lead? There is no better time to prepare for tomorrow than today. Practice being resilient each day. It will pay heavy returns when you are tested.