Resilience & agility are 2 terms that are now used frequently in leadership conversations. They go together like two lions protecting the entrance to the sacred place. There reverence has arisen out of our more volatile and uncertain world. They are the requirements of the leadership dance that accompanies a highly dynamic and competitive landscape. With over 80% of the profit creation coming from just 10% of global organizations, the large middle bulge of companies are in fierce battle amongst themselves & others to sustain growth and profitability.  Resilience & Agility also refer to the new urgency and edginess of today’s work. There is a seemingly a constant level of stress that is now accepted & encouraged as normal.

Intrigued by the emergence of these frequently mentioned leadership traits, we reached out to our own network to find our more about these concepts, and what they mean in practice.

We interviewed over 20 leaders across Asia Pacific, and their responses informed the conclusions below.

What do these terms mean?

Resilience refers to the energy, vitality & buoyancy that is needed to stand in presence, and remain highly effective as a leader when challenge by considerable complexity and change in the business context. It is an outcome of personal stress in the workplace, and the broader volatility associated with emerging socio political uncertainty.

Where in Agility infers an adaptable approach to strategic execution that is required to lead across expanding markets and to deliver the “holy trinity” – more growth, greater efficiency and a leap in innovation.

Our research suggests that the following capabilities will help deliver greater Agility & Resilience.


The capacity to move quickly and respond to new, changing and unfamiliar contexts at both a macro and micro level.  This has a flow on effect to decision making. Low to moderate risk decisions can be taken without 100% comfort and multiple decisions are taken together.


Teaming and collaborations are becoming the norm now for getting things done. Collaboration requires an agreement on roles, frameworks for decision-making, and clarity on how the collaboration is different to delegation or outsourcing. It requires genuine agreement on the core purpose and the specific value creation that will be generated through collaboration. It also requires clear definable projects to focus the collaboration.


Insight in this context, is about an ability to develop a systemic perspective and understand the key performance levers in your business. It requires a new curiosity and an acceptance that old truths may no longer apply. This allows leadership to look at patterns and systems with fresh eyes.

Relational Intelligence

Understanding one’s own relational landscape, including interpersonal energy and intention, emotional strengths and shadows, and your capacity to build trust. Prioritization of relationships is now critical,and an ability to grow and sustain cross cultural connections is important.

Personal Well being

A commitment to one’s own personal well beingphysical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellness is key to leading in complexity. This involves self-care and connection along with some discipline of continued personal growth and adjustment.

We invite you to consider these aspects of new leadership and ask yourself:

  1. If I was to develop one key area above, what would it be?
  2. Who may help me with this?

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