Business AgilityMastering Resilience: Lessons in Engagement

“My brain switch has shut off,” said my 6-year-old, sprawled out upside-down across the ottoman, as I was quizzing her on her sight words.

Undoubtedly, this scene is playing out across many living rooms across the world as many of our kids head back to school. Back to school means back to routines, and the more relaxed pace of summertime in the Northern Hemisphere yields to something with much more shape.

She had just read a short story to me without a complaint. So why the resistance now, as we were flipping through a deck of cards?

  • Flash cards lack the experience of a story. (Taken out of context.)
  • The words were challenging. (They stretched her capability and she lacked confidence.)
  • Sight words are transactional. (They don’t build interesting connections.)

This happens too in the workplace. Pressed for efficiency to the max, it’s all too tempting to skip the experiential aspects of work, in favor of something that notches the box quickly so we can move on to the next task. But are we losing something in the process?

Certainly in the dynamic landscape of today’s businesses, change is the norm. To thrive, organizations must be flexible and resilient.

However, building resilience doesn’t happen automatically; it requires effective training, the right support, and ongoing evolution based on learning over time.

This is where the concept of engagement plays a pivotal role.

The Challenge of Nurturing Resilience

Resilience is a quality that extends far beyond mere survival in the face of adversity. It represents the ability to not just endure challenges but to truly flourish amidst them. Resilience, in essence, is the capacity to rebound from setbacks, adapt to change, and even thrive in the midst of uncertainty. It’s about equipping your team with both the practical skills, context, and the right connectivity to confidently navigate the turbulent waters of the modern business world.

Practically speaking, resilience might manifest as the ability to pivot quickly when market dynamics shift unexpectedly, to remain innovative when confronted with disruptive technologies, or to maintain team cohesion and motivation during times of crisis. It’s about being agile, adaptable, and resourceful in the face of challenges.


Engagement Gone Wrong

Traditional risk, compliance, and resilience training methods. They often follow a rigid, one-size-fits-all approach. In these approaches, every employee receives the same content, irrespective of their unique strengths, weaknesses, and job roles. The flash cards of the resilience world. This uniformity can be problematic because it fails to address the specific needs and circumstances that each team member faces in their day-to-day work.

The traditional enablement methods we tend to employ in adult learning are often disconnected from real-world scenarios. Or they are brought to life in a way that does not reflect the context individuals and teams experience during an actual event. They may involve classroom-style lectures or generic e-learning modules that, while informative, don’t necessarily translate seamlessly into practical skills and decision-making abilities in the workplace. This gap between theory and application can hinder employees from confidently navigating real-world challenges.

Imagine a scenario where employees are required to adapt swiftly to a new regulation. Traditional training might involve a standardized tutorial, but it may not account for the varying degrees of familiarity with the current policy, role-based nuances, how that regulation may vary based on jurisdiction, how they might collaborate with others, or novel combinations of events that make decision-making more muddied. Furthermore, it might not adequately simulate the actual challenges and decision-making scenarios they’ll encounter in their specific roles.

Who hasn’t dreaded taking the mandatory elearning training? Did it help you make the calls that protected you and your company from disaster?

To truly cultivate resilience, learning methods must evolve beyond the one-size-fits-all paradigm. They should be customized to meet individual needs, offering real-world scenarios and dynamic content that prepares employees not just to survive but to excel in their roles. This shift towards personalized, real-world, and adaptable training is where the future of resilience-building in the workforce lies. It ensures that employees are not merely equipped to face adversity but are primed to thrive and drive their organizations forward in even the most challenging of circumstances.


Changing the Game on Engagement

Here’s how the focus on engagement is helping organizations bolster the resilience of their teams:

Microsimulations: Learning Through Gameplay

Imagine mastering a complex skill by actively engaging with it, free from the fear of real-world consequences. Interactive learning strategies such as Microsimulations enable just that. Organizations can create tailored learning experiences for team members based on their strengths and areas for improvement. These interactive sessions simulate real-life scenarios, allowing employees to practice and enhance their abilities within a low-risk environment.

What makes these interactive, bite-sized exercises truly effective is the opportunity for real-time feedback. Employees can receive immediate guidance and evaluation, enabling them to learn from their experiences, adapt quickly, and continually enhance their skills.

I experienced this first-hand during one of iluminr’s recent Wargame to Gameday events, immersed in a microsimulation for a deepfake attack. One pan around the room and you found people immersed in thought, considering what THEY would do in a situation such as this one. Learning, when it’s most effective, must be heaping with context, leveled in such a way it is challenging but not overwhelming, and connected with the people and things that matter most to us.

Adaptive Playbooks: Staying Agile in Rapidly Changing Environments

Change happens swiftly, and your team must keep pace. Adaptive playbooks provide step-by-step guidance for complex tasks and procedures. However, these plans can adjust in real-time to each employee’s progress and performance, ensuring they receive the right support at the right time.

Engagement-driven approaches can keep learning materials up-to-date with the latest industry practices and regulatory changes. This means your teams are always armed with the most current knowledge, enhancing their adaptability.

When was the last time you used your plan exactly how it was written? What percentage of the time are you learning something new from an exercise or from a live response? Leveraging the muscle memory for activities that do not have a high degree of sensitivity to outside input (such as scenarios), while providing in-the-moment context for decisions that are strongly influenced by context has never been more imperative in fast-paced change.

Feedback-Driven Growth: Learning from Experience

Feedback is a cornerstone of improvement. Organizations can gather and analyze feedback from employees as they engage with training materials or respond to real-life challenges. This data reveals trends, strengths, and weaknesses in training and response strategies.

What sets engagement-focused strategies apart is their ability to provide personalized recommendations based on team feedback and performance metrics. Each team member can receive targeted support to address specific areas of improvement, making individuals and teams more resilient over time.


Fostering a Culture of Continuous Learning

So what happened with our hero, Sophie, at the beginning of our story?

We put the flashcards down, went for a jump on the trampoline, and told stories with some marshmallows by the bonfire. She was much more engaged and prepared for her first week of school.

In the same way, as leaders, understanding where our teams are (context), meeting them where they are at (capability), and creating experiences that build common ground (connectivity) can be far more effective in building agility than running through highly scripted routines.

By incorporating game-based microsimulations, adaptive playbooks, and feedback mechanisms into risk, resilience, and compliance training and response programs, organizations don’t just make teams more resilient; they empower teams to excel. Engagement is the gamechanger that transforms your organization into a hub of adaptability, where your workforce is confident, flexible, and always ready to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.

Are you interested in refreshing you bag of insights and tools to support your risk, resilience, and compliance program in the year ahead? Check out the Microsimulations Product Masterclass to see iluminr’s Microsimulations in action.




Paula Fontana

VP of Global Marketing