On November 19th, 2019, 75 leaders from Toronto’s business and HR communities gathered at OCAD U CO for a discussion on team resilience. Here’s what they learned:

Leading the discussion, Third Factor CEO Dane Jensen brought together the voices of elite athletes and coaches to talk about what separates those teams that are able to rebound from failure to reach even higher levels of performance from teams that tend to crumble or falter in the face of failure.

Drawing on insights from our work with high-performing sports teams, including the last four medal winning women’s Olympic hockey teams and the men’s and women’s national soccer teams, Dane identified what it takes for teams to not just perform but also to recover and be resilient. These are the four traits we’ve observed that characterize resilient teams, or differentiate resilient teams from those that are less resilient:

1. Negative emotion. Resilient teams process negative emotion in a way that leads to harder work and higher standards as opposed to detachment or combustion. They frame it so rather than being scared of negative emotion, they choose to lean into it, work with it, and see it with a sense of challenge, control and commitment.

2. Communication. The teams that recover quickly from setbacks communicate differently because they have worked consciously on awareness. They’ve surfaced their communication styles and worked on having performance conversations in the good times.

3. Relationships. Teams are more resilient when they work diligently on building relationships, even if that’s just 30 seconds for each person every day.

4. Shared purpose. Teams work best in the face of failure when they have a clear a line of sight to shared purpose. They don’t do hard work for it’s own sake, but because they choose to connect it to something that actually matters to them.