Who will turn out to be antifragile?

Paul

by Paul van Schie

Some weeks ago we briefly touched on one of the most prominent thinkers on the subject of uncertainty: Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Some time after The Black Swan, Taleb introduced the term ‘antifragility’.

You are fragile if you avoid disorder and disruption for fear of the mess they might make of your life: you think you are keeping safe, but really you are making yourself vulnerable [..]. You are robust if you can stand up to shocks […]. But you are antifragile if shocks and disruptions make you stronger and more creative, better able to adapt to each new challenge you face. (Credits for this explanation, as well as a sharp critique on the book).

In short: antifragile people and organisations gain from disorder. Like being Michael Burry, the main character of The Big Short played by Christian Bale.

New signs of a global economic recession are emerging, and a national recession has already been officially announced in the US.

That’s why one of the big questions that’s starting to emerge everywhere, is who will show to be resilient, robust or even antifragile?

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Purpose during crises

According to many purpose experts, crises often are defining moments in which a personal purpose is formed. In fact, Rebecca Tapp put it bluntly by saying “purpose is catalysed in these crisis moments. If you don’t make a conscious choice to find purpose, life will come along and give you a metaphorical slap in the face [that will make you go and search for it].”

At the same time purpose is also mentioned as one of the key factors that will get you through a crisis. Purpose creates resilience.

Following Covid and a global societal call for equality, an upcoming recession is the third consecutive disrupting crisis in only months that calls for purpose as a compass. This holds true for companies as well as individuals.

As it is and has been in all cases: the time to act is.. you guessed it: now.

Join us in this purpose enthusiast weekly for a small journey into the connection between purpose, crisis and resilience.

How Resilience Works

This HBR article is quite old (2002) and quite long, but lives up to its promising title ‘How Resilience Works’. Great read.

Podcast: Return on Resilience

In this interview Rebecca Tapp, who’s insights were an invaluable contribution to our latest ebook, tells the deeply personal story of how she found her purpose. The conversation then dives into what it takes to overcome personal crises, and covers Rebecca’s take on how purpose connects with adversity and resilience.

Agile or irrelevant: redefining resilience

Going by the input of 1300 CEOs of companies with at least $500 million in annual revenues, KPMG’s 2019 global CEO outlook concludes that purpose is one of the key factors in driving and maintaining a resilient workforce and customer base.

Event: sustainability measurement, purpose and resilience

On 1 and 2 september, sustainability giant Ethicalcorp is hosting a major online event on identifying risks, and demonstrating future resilience and real impact.

The 2-day live virtual event, followed by virtual VIP working groups, will unite CSOs, CFOs, Heads of Sustainability, Reporting and ESG Investors to share strategies on how to create a global and integrated reporting strategy that aligns with the company’s purpose.

Register for free