The Culture Review

Issue 95

with Ivan Hollingsworth, Founder of Centric Consultants

Being resilient doesn’t mean that you don’t experience stress, suffering, or emotional upheaval – instead it is the process you go through to navigate this distress or adversity that makes you truly resilient.

Our business was founded to give people the tools to cope when things don’t quite go as expected and a lot of the insights that we discuss with our clients are based on our lived experience as a family as our son, Seb, underwent heart surgery as a baby, and then again as a teenager.

Last month you may have seen our family on Geordie Hospital (Channel 4), the episode followed just some of our story and celebrates the amazing surgeon Mr Hasan, and the incredible team at The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust who mended Seb’s heart. We talk candidly about what that experience taught us about resilience in practice, and we hope that the episode sheds some light on part of the context for the work that we do.

With the right support, resilience can be learned – and you can maintain your core purpose in the face of changing circumstances. Resilient individuals and teams are more likely to develop high-quality connections, manage stress effectively, avoid burnout, and stay inspired. But, it all starts with acceptance of our emotions. Rather than trying to change or control our emotions, practicing emotional agility allows us to use these feelings as data and guide our decision-making process. It helps you to step back and make decisions based on your values and goals, rather than acting rashly on impulse.

Understanding our emotions is the first step to having truly human connections in the workplace, and teams that are connected and resilient truly thrive. Individual managers and leaders are responsible for role-modelling and creating the space that enables their teams think and feel in the most emotionally agile way, by adopting an approach of being a listener, coach, and collaborator. The output of this is that you will transform employee engagement, mitigate the risk of burnout and improve your performance.

This month I’ve enjoyed two titles exploring the idea of how our emotions feed into resilience, and why self-compassion is a powerful solution for combating negativity and insecurity – the symptoms of living in a high-pressure world.

Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life by Dr. Susan David

Drawing on more than twenty years of academic research and her own experiences, Susan David PhD, a psychologist and faculty member at Harvard Medical School, has pioneered a new way to achieve our most valued goals and live life to the fullest.

Self Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristen Neff PhD

Kristin Neff PhD, is a professor in educational psychology, and the world’s expert on selfcompassion. A pioneer who established selfcompassion as a field of study, Kristin offers a powerful solution for combating negativity and insecurity – the symptoms of living in a high-pressure world. Through tried and tested exercises and audio downloads, you can learn the three core components that will help to heal destructive emotional patterns so that you can become healthier, and happier, and replace negative and destructive measures of self-worth and success with a kinder and non-judgmental approach.

Ivan Hollingsworth is the founder and director of Centric Consultants – a business founded in a bid to tackle ‘culture-washing’ and support business leaders to build strong, sustainable, high-performing teams based on trust and psychological safety. Each month he will share his best business reads on key topics that can help business leaders address key challenges in the coming years, including reducing staff burnout, attracting and retaining people, and increasing team performance.

For more insights on what company culture truly means, and how to can implement change across your business follow Centric Consultants on LinkedIn or email Ivan directly at

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