NEW YORK CITY — Leaders are being asked to make difficult decisions with the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak. But how can they be sure they are making the right decision and remain resilient when faced with such challenges? And how can leaders form these critical decision-making skills before a crisis or disaster happens?
WSP USA, a leading engineering and professional services consultancy, is participating in Resilient Leadership, a new initiative coordinated by The Resilience Shift, with long-time collaborator Peter Willis of “Conversations that Count” and the Cape Town Drought Response Learning Initiative, and in partnership with the Global Resilient Cities Network.
“Particularly in times of unprecedented crisis and challenge, leaders from different organizations can greatly benefit from sharing experiences with each other,” said Tom Lewis, president of Federal Programs and Logistics at WSP USA, who is representing the firm as a collaborator on the initiative. “The Resilient Leadership project has been invaluable to me in this regard.”
Willis interviewed 12 globally diverse senior leaders, including Lewis, every week for 16 weeks to capture their reflections on the challenges they are facing day to day during the current crisis.
The goal of the Resilient Leadership Initiative — part of a series of research ventures by The Resilience Shift on the theme “Learning from Crisis” — is to increase global understanding of successful crisis management and resilient leadership during a crisis, specifically within large global corporations and large cities.
Seven of the participants are senior executives in large, globally significant corporations, including WSP, Arup, Lloyd’s Register Group, Optima, SAP, Siemens and the World Bank. The remaining five members are chief resilience officers of large cities in Europe, Africa, India, Brazil and the U.S. and members of the Global Resilient Cities Network.
Throughout the program, which began in April and continues through August, participants reflect on their daily challenges, the dilemmas they are resolving and lessons they may have to share. The results of the first two months of conversations have been compiled by Resilience Shift here.
The Resilience Shift is distilling their insights and sharing them with senior leaders, that it may benefit their cities and companies, as well as their respective citizens, staff and public servants. Each week, a summary of the insights is published with additional reflections in a podcast led by Seth Schultz, executive director of The Resilience Shift, in conversation with Willis.
See the latest insights and podcast here.
“As this project generates and captures insights, it will be pulling together the essential learning from these interviews and making it available to a wider audience,” Schultz said. “Helping them to be better prepared for, and more resilient to, the next crisis to come. And as a result, making us all a little more resilient in the process.”
“Some leaders are naturally gifted in crisis situations, but most leaders can become good at this,” Willis added. “The difference they can make to the outcomes in their city or organisation is hard to understate. This project invites 12 experienced leaders to reflect regularly on how they are responding, and helping their people to respond, to a meta-crisis with no modern precedent and no certain end.”
The Resilience Shift also invites others to share their own thoughts and register for project updates. The project website can be found here.
About the Resilience Shift
The Resilience Shift is a catalyst for positive change toward more resilient infrastructure. Its mission is to help ensure the safety and continuity of the critical infrastructure and services that make our lives possible. From water and transportation through to communications and energy, it is essential to everything we do. The Resilience Shift is working globally to help define this and provide pathways from theory to practice.
About WSP USA
WSP USA is the U.S. operating company of WSP, one of the world's leading engineering and professional services firms. Dedicated to serving local communities, we are engineers, planners, technical experts, strategic advisors and construction management professionals. WSP USA designs lasting solutions in the buildings, transportation, energy, water and environment markets. With more than 9,500 employees in 150 offices across the U.S., we partner with our clients to help communities prosper. wsp.com
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