As this session is addressing the topic of resilience, I thought that I might start with my favorite poem on the topic—although I might just as easily have quoted from the Harvard Business Review, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, or the Wall Street Journal – all of which have had articles on Resilience during the time of Covid.
The poem is called OPTIMISM and is by Jane Hirshfield.
More and more I have come to admire resilience.
Not the simple resistance of a pillow, whose foam
returns over and over to the same shape, but the sinuous
tenacity of a tree: finding the light newly blocked on one side,
it turns in another. A blind intelligence, true.
But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers,
mitochondria, figs — all this resinous, unretractable earth.
The tendency for plants to grow in the direction of light, which Hirshfield references in her poem, is one of many tropisms called phototropism. An interesting question if we adopt this metaphor in our lives or organizations might be:
What is the light?
What’s the substance animating us, pulling us forward—out of Covid, the climate crisis, social conflict, or whatever seems to be blocking us these days? Put another way: what’s the life source that we are pursuing?
This talk is about emerging from the current challenges facing your organization without losing your way … your structural integrity.