Tony Svanascini: On Resilience

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Tony Svanascini is the CEO of AmericanEagle.com. Mr. Svanascini is a member of the American Swiss Foundation's Board of Directors and an alumnus of the 2010 Young Leaders Conference.

Vince Lombardi, the great football coach of the Green Bay Packers, said: “It’s not whether you got knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.” I think this statement has helped me more than any other in life and business. Resiliency is arguably nature’s most impressive quality as without it, life would have ended as soon as it started. Resiliency is life’s key ingredient as it keeps everything in balance, ensures survival, and allows it to absorb anything that gets thrown its way. More importantly, it uses those forces to become stronger. How many people know that the Gulf of Mexico, for example, was created by an asteroid? Or that palm trees bend the way they do because they’ve adapted to occasional hurricanes?

In business, resiliency is everything when it comes to survival. Netflix might be one of the best examples of this. When they first started, they sent out DVD’s by regular mail. Unlike Blockbuster video, when Internet streaming became common and bankrupted video rental stores everywhere, Netflix adapted and became the leader in streaming. When streaming became overly competitive, they went out and created their own content like “House of Cards” and have since won several movie and television awards. This is the epitome of resilience. Instead of focusing on the competition, they focused on the reality of the marketplace and the ever-changing world around them.

It’s important to always cultivate resilience within your own organization. This includes building a culture and a framework that recognizes any looming outside factors and the agility in coming up with solutions to the myriad of troubles that businesses must contend with. It’s not an easy feat but the more resiliency you incorporate, the higher the odds for long-term survival and growth.

Most importantly, if you ever find that everything else has failed, you can defer to the ultimate quote on resilience given by Winston Churchill: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

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