Episode 44: Rubber Band Resilience – conference keynote preview

August 10, 2021

Line Dempsey: Welcome back to our podcast, Regulation Matters: a CLEAR conversation. I'm your host, Line Dempsey. I am currently the Chief Compliance Officer with Riccobene Associates Family Dentistry here in North Carolina, and I'm also the Chair of CLEAR's National Certified Investigator Training Committee.

As many of you are aware, the Council on Licensure, Enforcement, and Regulation, or CLEAR, is an association of individuals, agencies, and organizations that comprise the international community of professional and occupational regulation. This podcast is a chance for you to hear about important topics in our regulatory community.

Today, our guest is Kathy Parry. Kathy is a corporate energy expert, and she is the keynote speaker at this year's CLEAR Annual Educational Conference. She will be presenting on Rubber Band Resilience: How to Stretch Without Snapping. The keynote session is sponsored by Thentia, so we thank them for their support, and we also thank Kathy for being with us today for a preview session. So, welcome, Kathy.

Kathy Parry: Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be with you and your Members.

Line: Well, we're certainly glad to speak with you, and also, let me thank our listeners for joining us today. This will be great for our listeners to get a sneak peek of our conference keynote.  And I'm intrigued by your title of corporate energy expert, so I guess, let's start with that. Can you kind of give us a little bit of understanding of what that means and a little bit about your background?

Kathy: Sure. So, my background was in business management, and I was originally a bank trainer down in North Carolina; that's why I said I did a little time in North Carolina.

So I saw firsthand how professionals handled change because, as a trainer, I was actually in the merger acquisition training. So, every time we were merging new branches, new divisions, I saw it. And so we don't all handle change and disruption well.

Well, what I realized when I was forming my company a number of years ago is that we lose energy around things that are disruptive. And so that's why I focus on finding energy, staying productive, getting things done, and often that happens at an organizational level, a team level, and also a personal level. So in my work, I tie all those things together; where are your energy drains, where are they coming, and how can you get things done more efficiently and effectively? So that's where that "corporate energy" comes from.

Line: Excellent! Well, I also understand you developed what you call a "resilience curve." So, could you explain that a little bit; tell us a little bit more about that?

Kathy: Yes, so when I was really working on my last book, which is called "The Rubber Band Resilient Leader: How To Stretch Without Snapping," I thought I needed to do a little investigating about how people manage change and what that looks like. And this kind of coincided just before COVID hit, the biggest disruption that most of us have seen in a number of years. And, as I was looking at an interviewing, I interviewed a lot of different leaders and a lot of different professions and asked a lot of questions; that's how I learn a lot and did a little more research on it. What I realized is that resilience comes in three phases: first, when we are hit with a disruption, we react. And whether you are personally reacting, whether your team's reacting, whether your organization is reacting, there are a set of reactions. So that's kind of our first phase, on the curve.

The next phase on the curve is the reframing. So after we become familiar, a little bit with our disruption and what it's doing to us, we start to think, "How are we going to manage? What could we do to move through it?" Throughout both of these phases, if we look at the curve, which I'm going to be showing in my keynote, so when you sign up for the conference, you'll get all the full information on the curve but during it, we hit highs and lows, and some of those lows can look like doubt or worry or fear. Or kind of the big ones that many of us went through in this big disruption from COVID like, "How do we reframe? What's our next step?" So we don't just feel mired. And I'm going to give you five tools that you can use in that reframing phase to help you maneuver because the last phase on the rubber band resilience curve is reenergizing, and that's when we get to say, "Hey, there's good stuff here. How're we going to reenergize? What's this going to look like next?" and we move through it, and then we become more like leaders that are resilient once we get to that reenergizing phase.

So, it's a lot of ups and downs. People might understand that change management curve, which basically has one big up and down, and my resilience curve goes up and down and up and down through the different phases.

Line: Well, I think, even just from that description, I kind of have an understanding of what you mean by rubber band resilience but, I guess just for clarity's sake, kind of take us through what that means, because I have a feeling that that up and down curve that you're talking about is related to that.

Kathy: Yes, absolutely so.

In that first phase of the curve, and if I had my big rubber band right now, I would be stretching that. But we're stretched; that's the phase where we're most stretched. What that rubber band is doing to us, what this disruption is doing, it makes us feel very stretched. And in my session, you will learn exactly what that stretch holds; it holds something that we all need to move forward.

Well then, in the reframing stage, that's when that rubber band stretches so far. Are we going to let it snap? Are we going to snap? Or are we going to snap back? And the goal is to snap back. We don't ever want to get so stretched that we feel like we might snap.

And then finally, in that reenergizing phase, that's when we hold things together. That's what rubber bands are meant to do, right, hold stuff together? So we just hold our stuff together, and we move forward, and in the very last part of my session, you'll learn exactly what another property of the rubber band is. I don't want to give too much away.

Line: No, that's perfect. I like the teaser. So obviously, you know this pandemic itself has caused new stressful situations for everyone; I don't think anyone is immune to that. Are there some tips that you can give our listeners to kind of help manage with different reactions, especially with maybe other team members? Just maybe a little preview on that.

Kathy: Right, so, as I said, reacting is the first phase on the Rubber Band Resilient Curve. And one of the tips that I like to say is, "Start to understand how your reactions affect those on your team."

Some of us aren't aware of "what's our go-to reaction?" You know, ask your kids or ask your family. They probably know what is your go-to, but we work with so many other people that if we don't understand how our team reacts to stressful situations, disruptive situations, even exciting situations, then we don't get a good read and our teams become less collaborative. It's like, well, I don't want to reach out because they go a little, you know, their reaction might be too big or too bold or anger. So, many organizations are great with this one because they do team assessments. We've heard of DISC profiling and Myers-Briggs and some of those, and those help us understand how we work with others and how we do react. So, one of my tips that I really like people to understand is, have a session with your team, say, "What's your go-to reaction? Are you a fixer? Are you a stoic? Are you an optimist, a pessimist, worst-caser?" There's all kinds of things, but understanding that sometimes people have to go to that reaction before they can begin to process, but then also understanding that reaction can have an effect on those who you are working with or those who you're serving. That's one tip.

Line: That's excellent. Well, I know, for me, you know the joke always around here at the office was I was no longer the chief compliance officer, I was the chief COVID officer for the last, you know, 16 months, and certainly with that brought an overwhelming number of additional responsibilities and tasks that I had to complete and obviously other folks are facing that either from that same type of scenario or maybe from lack of work or staff members that are absent and things getting piled on top. I guess, is there a tip for maybe when you're getting to that point where you feel stretched and instead of for me reaching for an adult beverage in the evening what are some things that are tips that I can use to help deal with that?

Kathy: Yes, adult beverages do have that calming effect, don't they? But yeah, one of the things I say, we can't live in that highly emotional state, so stress is something that is really so important to address because we have all felt it, but if we live in that place of stress and I'm going to tell a wonderful bear story during my session that will really walk you through what is happening in your body when you are stressed out. We can't live in a stressed-out state because our body starts to actually break down, physically break down, and I always say you can't serve the people you need to serve or get the task done that you need to do if you are burned out, stressed out, maxed out, worn out, right?

So besides just reverting back to those feel-good things, it might not just be you know, an alcoholic beverage, it might be some good old Amazon prime shopping and things showing up at your door, that, you know, chocolate cake. You know, we go to those things because it makes a dopamine receptor in our brain feel good and we get some serotonin from that, and we feel better. Alcohol is, you know, also does the same thing. But a few more helpful ways that you might do that; one of my favorites, and it's so simple, is to install an app on your phone that's a meditation app. There's so many good ones. There's Headspace, there's another one I use, I'm not getting it off the top my head, but literally just last week I did a little ding, and you know, usually the ding alerts you and, you're like, who's pinging? What's pinging me now, but I turn, and there it is, and it just says, "Take 10 seconds to think of something that makes you smile." Oh, that just, again, releases those feel-good hormones and begins to really take the stress levels down.

So something as simple as that. We know them. We know the things to do to de-stress, but we just don't do it. So the other thing I like to say is make a plan for it. Make a plan. Is it that on the hour you take five minutes, you breathe deep? Is it that you get up and stretch? Nothing happens without a plan, so, if you don't commit to it, pretty hard to make it happen.

Line: Yeah, as a former exercise physiologist, you know, I constantly had to deal with exercise adherence and that whole concept of making an appointment to work out, and this is kind of a forced appointment, even if it's just for 10 seconds or 15 seconds. I mean, for me, I constantly, you know, have been working at the office the entire time, but on the days that I have worked at home, I've made a point of you know walking outside, even if just for two or three minutes, just to get outside. Here it's easy, there's a Starbucks close by, so I'll walk and get a coffee or something like that, but that is certainly a great way to deal with that.

So I guess you know; obviously, we're getting close to the conference itself, and your session, which I'm looking forward to. Is there one thing that maybe you could tell the participants that would help us as far as looking forward to this presentation?

Kathy: Well, I think the best thing is that you're going to be with people who know and understand you, and again during this reenergizing phase, one of my top tips is when you are feeling like that burned out, worn out, stressed out feelings, nothing helps more than someone who gets you, gets and understands what you've been through. And I, like, you know, your spouse might not get what you've been through, your kids, your sisters, your best friends, and plus they don't want to hear you moan so much, but I think a really great tip is to use the Members in this association because they know and they get you.

And coming to the conference is one of the best ways, but also forming groups, I know there's a number of different industries that are represented. Getting on LinkedIn, forming a team zoom chat, make it a weekly habit. I've worked with a number of industries where one in particular, which happened to be busing, and you know buses went away during COVID, and they decided they're having a weekly zoom call just with a specific group in that industry. And it wasn't always about trying to solve the problem; sometimes it was just about, "Hey, these people get me; they understand me." So in coming to the conference, get ready, get ready to get energized by people who know and understand you. And don't be afraid to make those connections. Yes, it's virtual, but we all know there's lots of ways to connect virtually, and the whole goal is to reenergize from it.

Line: Excellent! Well, I think this has been a great conversation, and it certainly has made me look forward to our Conference keynote, so thank you, Kathy, for speaking with us today.

Kathy: Absolutely, I look forward to seeing you soon.

Line: That's great, and it has been a pleasure. And a reminder to our listeners, registration is open for the virtual Annual Educational Conference, and pre-recorded sessions will be available beginning September 13th. The live conference sessions take place the week of September 20th.

Don't miss the keynote session that is titled Rubber Band Resilience: How To Stretch Without Snapping, and that's with Kathy Parry, who we spoke with today. That session is sponsored by Thentia. Live sessions also include the awards plenary, which is Understanding The Three Tiers Of Diversity, and that session is sponsored by Prometric. And the closing session, Setting Precedents: The Top 10 Recent Cases You Need To Know About, and that session is sponsored by Meazure Learning.

Thank you again, Thentia, Prometric, and Meazure Learning, for their support. We also have a live Q & A session, and that will be with some selected speakers, virtual exhibitor hours, and the CLEAR Regulatory Excellence Awards presentation.

We had great feedback from last year's virtual conference, that we hope that you can join us again this year. And thanks again for tuning in to this podcast.

We'll be back with another episode of Regulation Matters: a CLEAR conversation very soon. If you're new to the CLEAR podcasts, please subscribe to us. You can find us on Podbean and any of your favorite podcast services.

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Finally, I'd like to thank our CLEAR staff, specifically Stephanie Thompson. She is our content coordinator and editor for this program. Once again, I'm Line Dempsey, and I look forward to speaking to you very soon.

The audio version of this podcast episode is available at https://podcast.clearhq.org/e/resilience_2021keynote.

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