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Intentional communication is key to surviving these times for individuals and business.

The last few months have been emotionally draining for me. I seem to be impacted by the extreme polarization of politics and culture more than most. I don’t have data proving that it also impacts employee engagement, but I would be surprised if it didn’t.
Friends and family advise that I just tune it out and look away. It’s tempting to just give up, but my sense of responsibility is too great. We who still have some power in this system must use it to push for an inclusive, just, and sustainable world in spite of the setbacks, while we still can.
I work in social media, so withdrawing is practically impossible. The hourly news cycle chases me throughout the day. I’m learning to limit my exposure consciously and balance consumption with taking action.
I also learned the power of #TakeFive brain breaks to buffer against negativity. Balancing out the stress with exercise and a meditation practice has definitely helped, too. The more I practice these behaviors, the more resilient I become.
Developing resilience has turned into one of the most critical skills for me to stay sane and productive. My own experience and a recent talk by a mentor got me thinking…why don’t more companies invest in teaching resilience?

Dancing and playing with my inner spirit animal helps me build resilience.

What is resilience and why is it important?

Resilience refers to our capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. In communication, resilience means communicating clearly and with sensitivity. It’s a skill that anyone can learn or improve.
Emotional literacy is a key foundation for resilience. It involves knowing how to express your emotional state and communicate your feelings. This helps you recognize and respond to the emotional states of others. Together this makes us more resilient. How we communicate is as important as what we are saying.

Resilience refers to our capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.

Resilience is good for the world, and for employee engagement.

The stress of our increasingly violent and polarized world makes effective communication challenging. Businesses can mitigate the risk of volatility in our world by developing a resilient workforce. Smart brands know that people are their greatest asset. Investing in employees’ resilience is good for business.
Resilient communication helps us bounce back from negative social interactions. Some people learn this skill in therapy working out difficult personal relationships, but many don’t.
Companies can make a difference in our lives and the world by learning, practicing, and promoting resilient communication skills.
This can become a key competitive advantage. This is especially important in the current environment of distrust we find ourselves in.

Trust is being eroded faster than ever before

Nothing impacts our work within companies and between us as individuals more than trust. Edelman proclaimed that we were in a ‘trust crisis’ last year. The 2018 TrustBarometer showed the U.S. had the steepest decline in trust since they started measuring nearly two decades ago.
The illusion of separation is at the root of much of the conflict we are experiencing today. When we believe that some “others” are causing our suffering, we become defensive. This can trigger an emotional, rather than rational response and can even make us violent.

The Edelman Trust Barometer shows that the steepest decline ever recorded in one year happened in the U.S.

Intentional communications improves trust and employee engagement.

Kim Clark directs GoDaddy’s Internal Culture and Communications. She delivered a powerful case study on “Co-creating a Resilient Culture” at the Dynamic Signal Summit that inspired this post. 
I love how she set up the talk with the question: “What do we have to do to get people comfortable with sitting next to each other?” She continued “how do we close the perceived gap between us?” The event was for brands that use the Dynamic Signal platform for communicating with and activating employees.
In this video I broadcasted of her talk, Kim breaks down how she built resilience into our internal communications program. She showed how resilient communication drives business value by increasing trust. In six months Kim’s team increased the trust employees had in GoDaddy leadership by 13 percentage points.

“Words matter. Words hurt or words heal…being intentional in our language is key.”

Kim Clark

Director, Internal Culture and Communications, GoDaddy

Resources for co-creating a resilient culture

The examples Kim gave in her talk demonstrate how bringing employees together to share stories related to their personal lives builds resilience and trust inside of GoDaddy. I’ve also included links to some of the resources she mentions.

#GoDaddyBrave blog series on Medium

Shea Wojciehowski shared a GoDaddyBrave story as an intern: I Want to Keep Writing Code that I Believe is Changing the World. She continued on an extended internship with GoDaddy for about 15 months, went back to school and finished her computer science degree, and returned as an engineer on our Smartline Team.

Story Slams

Story slams are in-person events where employees are invited to share a five-minute story about their personal lives un-related to their job. It’s a challenge to build trust in large distributed organizations like GoDaddy. Sharing how we overcame a unique challenge on stage makes each equivalently vulnerable and opens us up to each other’s humanity.

Everyone from senior leadership down to rank and file is invited to participate at each of our events. Here is just one of the dozens of stories slams that we recorded at live events over the years since we started doing it. Janice McKeever finally had enough bullying and stood up for herself, earning a pair of purple boxing gloves. She also shared a GoDaddyBrave story about her journey to get fit.

Andy Strong of The Damn Fanatics

Hendricks Institute – Learn to Communicate with Integrity

Learn resilience and the Four Pillars of Integrity Kim spoke of through their free resources, paid courses and events. This free training on making impeccable agreements is a great place to start.

This radio interview is a good overview of the work of the Hendricks Institute. Taking the Big Leap starts with a commitment to conscious communication. You can learn to turn every negative interaction in your relationships into an opportunity for integrity and growth. Gay Hendricks recommends you get beyond blaming and criticizing your peers at work and in relationships.

Leave a comment below or on my social channels to let me know what you think of this post, how you are building resilience in your own life and at your business.