Building Resilience and Managing Stress: How to achieve more and strain less

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Posted by APM on 11th Jul 2012

Newly elected chairman of the East of England Branch, Paul Erricker addressed the delegates at a branch event which recently took place in Norwich.  Paul emphasised that the branch was intent on continuing to organise high quality events and fostering continuous professional development with corporate members.

The event was held in St Andrews House with local committee member Eddie Allison introducing the speaker, Dr Peter Parkes of Peak Performance Consulting.  Peter had previously given a talk on NLP4PM last year and was invited back by the branch to elaborate on some of the skills and behaviours highlighted in his book, particularly on Stress & Resilience.

Peter started off by outlining the business case for managing stress and stated that you can either invest to manage the risk or deal with the issues.  Recent press articles about CEOs taking long term absence due to stress, and even suing their employers, were discussed.  A survey by the Times cites business change and restructuring as the major cause of stress and, a show of hands revealed that almost the entire audience had been through such programmes in the last couple of years.  Not surprisingly given the constraints of time, cost and performance, stress comes out as the major concern of practicing PMs.

After describing the origins and mechanics of our biological stress response, the session then took on the qualities of a workshop to discuss the causes, symptoms and impact of stress before giving guidance on the role of the employer, the manager and ourselves as individuals in reducing the impact of stress.

Peter rounded off the session with a description of resilience and some case studies, before describing tools and techniques for developing our own resilience.  Effective tools range from framing and re-framing situations, through managing internal dialogue, to the use of training and executive coaching.  He summed up by saying that, if you want your staff to work under pressure then you have to invest in developing and coaching resilient people and in workplace wellness programmes. 

Peter will be giving a similar talk to other branches including Southampton and Staffordshire, and a further event in Birmingham on behalf of the People SIG, which is majoring on the topic of Resilience this year.

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