HR Seminar New York - Embracing Disruptive Change: Resilience and Antifragility

5 Minutes

On the 14th of November sixty HR professionals gathered in New York at LinkedIn HQ (inside t...

On the 14th of November sixty HR professionals gathered in New York at LinkedIn HQ (inside the iconic Empire State Building – already decked out in Christmas cheer) for Elliott Scott HR’s seminar ‘Embracing Disruptive Change: Resilience and Antifragility’ in partnership with Arcadia Consulting.

What is the difference between Resilience and Antifragility? Our presenter, Dan Spira, started the seminar off with a very helpful visual – imagine a dandelion, a tea cup and a hammer. Which one is antifragile and which one is resilient? If I was to impose a force on all three what would happen to each? The hammer would withstand the force (it wouldn’t change much) – it is resilient. The tea cup would shatter – it is fragile. The dandelion would split into a thousand tiny seeds which would spread out into its environment, and ultimately more dandelions would grow over time – it embodies antifragility.

Being antifragile means coming back stronger from a stressful situation or encounter. We then went on to discuss how we can become more antifragile, both as individuals and organizations.

Below are three ways that we, as HR Professionals, can promote antifragility in our own organizations:

Experiment and Tinkertake lots of small risks, keep trying and testing lots of different things and maintain an open mind. For example in our own team at Elliott Scott HR, Daniel Herskowitz decided in 2014 that he wanted to launch a Global Mobility recruitment function. It was a risk to branch out from our core HR Recruitment business, but he was encouraged to do so and now has a thriving desk.

Build redundancy in layers – this is a case for larger teams. In a small team, one loss can have a huge impact. At Elliott Scott HR, while we do have a smaller team here on the ground in New York, we have a wider global team in different regions that acts as a cushion. For example I often work with my colleague in London, Associate Consultant Agata Staszewska - we share market intel and connect each other with globally mobile candidates, who are interested in opportunities both in the US and EMEA. 

Think long term - don’t get caught up in the randomness and stressors of the everyday, remember to play the long game. Dan gave a great example of Rama, the Hindu god, who was exiled to the forest for 14 years. Rather than give up, Rama waited it out, became stronger in his exile and ultimately returned to the kingdom where the people were waiting to crown him King. Like Rama, and the dandelion mentioned above, those ‘failures’ and breakages that you see now won’t grow back into new dandelions instantaneously, but those seeds will be setting up slowly for future success.

If you have any examples of antifragility, I would love to hear them, you can get in touch with me at: If you would be interested in attending any future Elliott Scott HR events, follow us on LinkedIn and keep an eye on our events page.