News | March 9, 2016

Resiliency toolkit explored during Senior Leader Conference

By Cathy Hopkins DLA Aviation Public Affairs

(Editor’s note:  This article is the first in a series of four on how DLA Aviation employees use the building blocks of resiliency to succeed in their professional and personal lives)

Defense Logistics Agency Aviation senior leaders met on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia, March 1 -3, reviewing 2015 successes and missed opportunities and the activity’s way forward for 2016. But the conference wasn’t just about the mission, leaders also focused on building a culture of innovation and resiliency through the sharing of personal testimonies and learning tools to enable them and their employees to adapt to and persevere in the face of personal and professional challenges. 

Resiliency is one of the agency’s six values with the others being integrity, diversity, innovation, accountability, and excellence. As a core value, resiliency promotes a workforce that is flexible, responsive, recoverable and able to quickly adapt to changing business environments while achieving results.  

The world is increasingly volatile, complex and uncertain and to help employees be successful, DLA is training its employees in resiliency and equipping them with the ability to work through setbacks. 

To help explore this value, DLA Aviation Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Allan Day built a lunchtime speakers series and a resiliency training session into the conference. 

On Day 2 of the conference, he introduced Air Force Master Sgt. Shanon Johnson, who broke away from facilitating the Resiliency Training Assistants Course that was being held in the Lotts Conference Center, to teach the session for senior leaders.

“Master Sgt. Shanon Johnson, DLA Aviation's resiliency czar, along with Tech. Sgt. Janet Pelayo and Senior Master Sgt. Ellwood Tegtmeir from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, are currently training 21 more individuals from across the agency to teach the training you are receiving today,” Day said. “As we go through this training, I hope we take the knowledge we gain and translate it into a skill as we practice resiliency." 

Johnson is an Air Force logistics career broadener who has been with DLA Aviation for almost three years. She led the training session for the group of 105, covering the resiliency building blocks - mental physical, social, and spiritual.  

"Resiliency is for everyone," said Johnson. "We all need to find balance in our lives regardless of what we are going through.  Having this balance gives us the strength to deal with situations effectively."

She said the resiliency tools taught can be applied to all aspects of our lives and will improve both our personal and professional lives.

She provided a toolkit centered around three topics: awareness, action and acceptance.  

"I want to teach you skills that will help you decide if this is something you need to be aware of, take action on or just accept," she said.  "With these skills, I want you to cultivate gratitude and promote optimism. I will start by teaching you how to count your blessings.  This skill is aimed at reminding you to remember the good things that are going on in your life." 

The next area covered was the A-B-Cs of resiliency – Activating Event-Brain-Consequence.   

Resiliency teaches the A-B-Cs to be aware of how our brains drive our reactions to an event and urges us to slow the process down and analyze the event to determine if our reactions are interfering with our performance, goals or values, she said. 

Workforce resiliency is more than stress management and fitness classes.  It is a cultural refocus that encourages trust, accountability, and flexibility for the benefit of all. 

Next, Johnson covered the importance of personal values, setting and accomplishing goals, and accepting that there are negative aspects of events that can't be controlled.

"Things happen that you can't change," she said.  "Resiliency is about flexibility, how we can face these things, deal with and work through them." Johnson discussed "mindfulness" and "meaning-making" as techniques to deal with adversity and anxiety, as well as the benefits of physical and spiritual resilience.  

"The point is to find the balance and be strong in all four building blocks for resilience," Johnson said. "It's about knowing what strengthens you and can help drag you out of a dark hole.  You are the only one who can make yourself stand after falling."

Employees may learn more about DLA’s goals and objectives in training employees in resiliency by completing the Resiliency in Action Course in the Learning Management System.  The course covers how resilient individuals meet and overcome challenges, and have the confidence to succeed to daily demands and unique challenges. 

DLA Aviation also holds monthly resiliency training and employees may sign up for training with their supervisors.