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The Newsletter | Edition 081
Progress Report is dedicated to providing inspiration for action. In our Off-White Papers, we provide practical guidance on how to respond to our rapidly-changing world. This newsletter explores those topics in real-time, with information and action steps on how to make progress now.

But in this special newsletter series, The State Of, we dive a little deeper into the long-term work that comes after, in the places where we’re seeing new types of progress in action. From brand strategy to design, internet trends to sustainability, music to science, beauty to travel, and more.

And this time, our illustrations from Cyra Cupid.


In today’s strained talent and macroeconomic climate, leaders should reorient learning and development towards ‘soft skills’ like empathy, optimism, grit, and mindfulness. These resilience skills not only empower individuals, they also have a multiplying effect on morale and output for teams.


The pandemic permanently blurred the lines between our personal and professional lives. Emerging out of it, employees are in the thick of recalibrating their relationships with work—rejecting work mentalities that have led to burnout and declining mental health. Helping people navigate this mental health crisis is critical. Leaders are reporting high absenteeism and low engagement, leading to diminishing productivity and growth. As a response, organizations have been rethinking their policies and benefits to account for employees’ mental health and happiness (e.g. hybrid work).

But leaders can go beyond accommodations to re-engage and strengthen their teams by helping them cultivate the resilience skills to weather current and future challenges. Resilience skills not only help us bounce back from personal setbacks, they help us mitigate the risk of burnout and perform better at work by making us more adaptable.

Encouraging employees’ resilience skill-building may be the best L&D investment yet, because personal growth begets growth in all areas of life, including professional growth. Lessons learned from overcoming a difficult personal challenge or perfecting a hobby can be applied to managing a tricky client or acquiring a hard skill (and vice versa). Overall, the mastery of these skills makes us mentally stronger and happier—whether we’re at home, at work, or in a mingling of both.

And there’s also a significant, tangible business benefit. In a PwC study, initiatives that fostered a resilient workplace returned $2.30 for every dollar spent. Further, Irrational Capital, a firm that uses behavioral economics to understand the connection between human capital and business performance, has found a positive correlation between motivated employees and a company’s stock price.

When leadership also embodies these resilience skills it has multiplying effects. It not only brings out the best in leaders—it brings out the best in teams. Individual team members feel empowered to maximize their own contributions, increasing productivity and retention. When those individuals work together, it amplifies the potential of teams to unleash diverse, creative solutions, leading to a resilient organization that thrives in the face of changing demands and environments.


Before investing in individual team members, leaders should level up their own resilience skills so they can positively influence and equip their teams. After all, leadership behaviors are contagious. Services like BetterUp and Reset are tailored to help leaders take care of themselves.

With next year’s budget forecasting in full force, find ways to incorporate the learning of resilience skills into your 2023 planning. Tools like MasterClass At Work feature on-demand classes on Mental Strength, Mindfulness and Meditation, Tactical Empathy and more. Books like You Are Your Best Thing, Do Hard Things, and Grit offer a unique and holistic view on resilience.

Mastery of resilience skills is key to ensure retention and application. Consider using Gagne’s Nine Levels of Learning to teach and measure your team’s resilience. Couple classes with in-person workshops during work-from-office days, and make resilience skill measurement part of employee development plans.

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