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School for CEOs tackles resilience and wellbeing at work

4 October 2017

School for CEOs hosted an exclusive Resilience masterclass for business leaders.

The School assembled a panel of four speakers to provide a breadth of perspectives on the topic of resilience and wellbeing in the workplace. Resilience was highlighted as a major theme in the School’s recent research, Future-proofing the CEO. David Sole, Managing Partner of the School for CEOs commented: ‘It is absolutely critical that leaders develop agility and resilience both personally and within their organisations. The event stimulated real interest and we were delighted to welcome many of the leaders who have participated and taught on our various programmes to gain further insights into this important subject.’

The speakers at the event were Dr Paul Litchfield, Chief Medical Officer at BT Group and Chairman of the What Works Centre for Wellbeing; Nancy Hey, Director at the What Works Centre for Wellbeing; Dr Brian Marien, Co-founder of Positive Group and the event closed with an intimate conversation between David Sole and David Smith, Paralympic Gold medallist at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Paul spoke about resilience and wellbeing from a societal perspective, highlighting the impact of the digital revolution, increasingly labelled the Fourth Industrial Revolution. As technology continues to evolve faster than humans, Paul talked about how leaders can learn to understand change better and prepare themselves and their organisations for the inevitable disruption that will occur.

Nancy provided an evidence-based perspective on how to build resilience at a personal and organisational level. Describing it as ‘ordinary magic’ she highlighted some of the basic elements that can improve wellbeing and resilience from social connections, trust and employment, to music and green space. Additionally, she also drew on the evidence base around what a ‘good job’ looks like and how employers can help achieve this, including elements such as job control, greater clarity of expectations and supportive supervision.

Brian concluded the keynote sessions by talking about the neuroscience behind resilience within a leadership context. External environment and events can have a significant impact on how the brain processes information. Learning to understand why we think, feel and behave the way we do, can enable individuals to train the brain to process information in a more constructive way, reducing the impact of potential negative external influences.

David Smith has suffered a number of life-threatening health conditions while pursuing his dream to be a professional sportsman and win Olympic medals. He shared his story in a candid and humbling way, offering a unique personal perspective on the importance of being resilient, living where your feet are, and making happiness your main priority.

Speaking after the event, one guest said: ‘I thought it was exceptional. The speakers were extremely knowledgeable and I also thought they complemented each other perfectly.’ June Boyle, School for CEOs Programme Director added: ‘It’s been fantastic to bring together four experts on this subject. Each speaker shared a unique perspective, highlighting why it is so important to be resilient and flourish in the workplace but also offering practical advice and real life stories to demonstrate the steps individuals can take to become more resilient. It’s been a great afternoon!’


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