Know the Territory. Build Resilience

“Change is coming” is the catchphrase du jour but we all know that change has always been here. As the often-quoted Greek Philosopher Heraclitus said, “the only thing that is constant is change”.

Sometimes the changes are incremental that the impact goes unnoticed and it’s business as usual. But there are times when the changes are massive and sweeping, causing turbulence. To weather this, resilience comes in handy.


Resilience is the capacity of an individual to remain both flexible and strong in the midst of ambiguity and change. Being resilient means a person can cope effectively with stress and uncertainty, bounce back from physical and emotional stress, absorb high levels of change and adjust to disruptions in life yet maintain high levels of productivity.

It is a key capability for remaining effective in a world of work that is characterized by constant movement and unpredictability. It allows people to go beyond survival and actually prosper in environments that are complex and dynamic.

Unfortunately, not everyone is born resilient. The good news is, you can learn resilience and even improve it. Collectively, resilient employees make an agile team. And an agile team is less resistant to change, allowing easier and more efficient transition. Because resilient employees are more alert to indicators that change is called for, they have the ability to respond and adapt faster to redirection and are quicker to adjust to system disruptions.

resilience framework

Lee Hecht Harrison’s resilience framework consists of four components: Understand Yourself, Connect to Resources, Know the Territory, and Take Action. In this article, we will zero in on just one: knowing the territory or awareness of the trends having an impact on your situation.

After years of running resilience workshops and tabulating visual and numeric views of resilience profiles, we have discovered that this is a component that is most ignored, it is a weak point for a vast majority. Understandably, because we get caught up in tasks at hand that we tend to forget that there is life outside and beyond what is in front of us.

For you to “know the territory” you must have three attributes.

First is the understanding of the big picture, of the forces and trends that are impacting and shaping your new situation. Seeing how you fit into a larger scheme helps you to recognize that many of these forces are outside of your control, enabling you to gain some perspective on your current situation and to find different ways to look at the world. Such knowledge can be helpful in developing an overall direction and plan.

Second, you must be able to recognize the skills needed for your future success and work towards them. In our contemporary world of constant, rapid change, the employer-employee contract has shifted. Nowadays, employers are interested in what competencies (skills, traits, attitudes) employees can offer to help solve current problems. As an employee, it is necessary for you to consider what value/s you bring to your organization. Knowing what the market requires and what skills you can provide will help to maintain your confidence and optimism in the midst of stressful environments.

Third, you must take responsibility in planning your career and life, in general. Lay down your short and long-range goals. Do not miss out on contingency plans. Knowing yourself and understanding your values and passions can help you remain buoyant in today’s organizations. Having a plan, with flexibility and options, provides the tool to help you navigate your course and be able to make the adjustments that will prove necessary to manage any transition you face.

Here are some steps you can take to develop the aforementioned attributes:

  • Use the internet to gather information on trends affecting your industry and profession: follow initiators and influencers on social media, sign up in discussion boards.
  • Read at least one business publication and one general news periodical regularly.
  • Attend conferences and expositions related to your field.
  • Join a professional organization (like PMAP!) and actively engage in its activities.
  • Get involved in a team that is dealing with an issue important in your profession or organization, and to the future of your career.
  • Select one skill that will be required for your future success and taking a class and/or reading on the topic.
  • Volunteer for an organization through which you can develop pertinent new skills.
  • Outline a tangible career and life plan that includes both long term and short term goals.
  • Get your finances in order.
  • Find a mentor who can provide you with guidance and advice.

Developing and strengthening your resilience does not happen overnight. It requires conscious and constant practice of all components. Knowing the territory brings you one step closer to being able to thrive in tough times.

About Jo Ann Rosary O. Asetre

Jo Ann Rosary O. Asetre is the Operations Director of Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH) Philippines, a Talent Development and Transition Company (formerly called Drake Beam Morin). She has conducted Developing Personal Resilience and Change Management workshops to groups of C-Suite executives, mid-level managers, supervisors, and rank and file employees. Jo Ann leads a team of Career Consultants, Subject Matter Experts to deliver Leadership Development, Change Management and Career Transition to numerous local and international companies including those listed in Fortune 500. For more information on LHH, log on to or

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