How To Build A Resilient Organization With Sandy Asch

The Answers From Leadership Podcast Episode 014

Our leadership expert guest for today’s episode of the Answers From Leadership podcast is Sandy Asch.

Sandy is an internationally recognized speaker and author of Excellence at Work: The Six Keys to Inspire Passion in the Workplace. She recently co-authored Roar: HOW TO BUILD A RESILIENT ORGANIZATION THE WORLD-FAMOUS SAN DIEGO ZOO WAY with Tim Mulligan. Asch partners with companies globally to create workplaces that are passionate, focused, healthier and resilient.

Learn how to create a resilient organization

What else do you want listeners to know about you?

I am passionate about leadership. Leadership is underrated and I’m excited to talk about that with you. I have a son who’s going into his junior year at Haas Business School at UC Berkeley. He’s a true natural (but I’m not biased).

And a really important thing you should know, I’m a huge fan of Shark Tank.

You have a new book called Roar that was recently released. What is Roar about?

The book is about how do you build resilience. As an individual, a team, or an organization. In the book, we use the World Famous San Diego Zoo as the backdrop. We were able to pull in stories about how leaders at the zoo have been able to create a 100-year-old organization.

What’s one cool thing you can tell us about the World Famous San Diego Zoo?

We talk about transparency in Roar. The World Famous San Diego Zoo has a fantastic example of transparency. If you’re ever at the zoo, go to the Elephant Odyssey Exhibit. Whereas the typical exhibit is concealed and you have no access to what goes on behind the scenes, Elephant Odyssey is the complete opposite.

They have turned the exhibit inside out. There used to be concern about how the animals are treated. But, because of how they display the exhibit, nothing is hidden. Everything is visible.

How would you suggest businesses create more transparency in what they do?

You have to have extraordinary courage and faith. Typically, there’s a sense of it’s not appropriate or safe to tell people the complete truth.

You create transparency by pulling back the curtain. Be brutally honest and vulnerable. Share with individuals everything they want to know.

What does resilience look like to you?

I have a very unique perspective on resilience. People typically think of how well or quickly they recovered from a challenge or adversity.

It’s almost like looking in a rear-view mirror.

What I’m suggesting is that resilience goes way beyond that. Resilience is more than your ability to bounce back. It is your ability to proactively leap forward.

Why is resilience important to leadership?

Because we’re living in crazy times. And the world is evolving and changing at lightning speeds.

I don’t know if we have the skills to deal with the amount of stress, disruption, demand, pressure, etc that we’re facing in the world today.

Is resilience something everyone can learn?

I think everyone can learn resilience. Resilience is not reserved for the rich and famous.

I would say that resilience is a skillset, a mindset, and a toolset that everyone can and ought to develop.

What can an organization do to help or encourage their team members to build resilience?

There has to be a commitment. There has to be a commitment to honor people.

An organization needs to have the consciousness and that commitment to making sure that its people are given the tools and skills to be as successful as they can be.

What are the 5 key elements of resilience?

I call them the 5 Cs. We package them to help everyone remember them.

They are Control, Conditions, Communication, Connection, and Commitment.

Can you go over a couple of ways that Control builds resilience?

It’s actually control of self. Or self-control. So, self-control is the foundation of resilience.

Lack of self-control has a significant cost. You lose trust. Communication breaks down. Relationships are impacted.

Most of all… Lack of self-control costs you your integrity.

This is an ongoing journey. It’s about our willingness to build the muscle and the ability of resilience.

What are some steps a leader can take to build resilience?

Begin by assessing how resilient you are. We have a 10-minute online resilient assessment.

Doing this gives you a baseline. It lets you know where you are and where you want to get to.

Figure out what lack of resilience costs you. What it’s costing you personally. What it’s costing you professionally. What it’s costing you relationally.

What do you wish you would have known about leadership 20 years ago?

Leadership is not about what you do. It’s about how you do what you do.

Any parting words of wisdom you’d like to leave with listeners?

Great leadership is an inside job.

We typically think leadership is about fixing things on the outside. At the end of the day, the greatest wisdom we can offer rising leaders is that great leadership begins with yourself.

How to connect with Sandy Asch:




Where to by Roar: How to Build a Resilient Organization the World-Famous San Diego Zoo Way:


Barnes and Noble

The Roar Book

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