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Resilience – a decisive virtue

On the road to success sometimes you also meet with failure. That’s why Grant Alexander is also interested in this aspect of our candidates’ professional trajectory. Far removed from the dated idea that a good leader must only have experienced a faultless journey to get to where they are, it is instead a matter of viewing the failure as a learning step and added value for the future, providing that you can discuss it openly and have a capacity for resilience that enables you to adapt and rebound.




While it is already understood as a natural part of one’s professional trajectory for the Anglo-Saxons, failure is finally becoming politically correct here in France. Democratisation of the concept of resilience itself has enabled it to take off. Originally, the term was used in the physical sciences in reference a metal’s capacity to resist pressure and regain its original structure after having been deformed. In psychology, it was the psychiatrist, neurologist and ethologist Boris Cyrulnik who popularised the concept in France. Now we see resilience as an individual’s ability to develop and succeed in spite of adversity and be able to return to normal functioning after disruption or trauma.


An Athlete Minded manager generally counts resilience among his qualities. His or her behavioural and mental characteristics lead to the implementation of a specific management mode that favours a climate of overall success. He or she also knows how to establish conditions that enable companies to steer through moments of difficulty:

  • Confidence in oneself and in others: believing in a project, involving his or her teams by entrusting them with means of action and sharing a vision with them is to foster a sense of meaning and a desire to act, even in difficult times.
  • Setting clear and shared goals: without any direction, it is much more difficult to know how to deploy suitable resources and be able to weather any storms. After all, doesn’t Seneca teach us that: “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable”?
  • Intelligent environmental awareness: taking advantage of his or her environment and its evolution by knowing how to identify signs of weakness when they appear is the surest way to avoid obstacles.
  • Accepting teaching failures and managing induced emotions: a mistake can be transformed into success. It is important to encourage the experience by not stigmatizing failures, instead taking into account the added value that they bring with them.
  • Establishing conditions that are conducive to creativity: this is how you can discover the concept of a ‘liberated company’, where tacit admission of the right to make mistakes authorises everybody to speak out, use their initiative and innovate.
  • Long-term perspective: a manager who gears his or her company towards long-term success instead of focusing on immediate performance indicators, such as share prices, has a better capacity than others to overcome the first obstacle along the way.

Here at Grant Alexander, we are convinced that having candidates discuss their failures and the ways in which they overcame them is extremely insightful.


Author : François HUBLOT – October 2016