Creative Workshop Exercises: Easy and Engaging Activities #5: Creating a Resilience Plan in Testing Times

Impact: Improved Resilience and Wellbeing in a Challenging Situation

Materials needed:

Resilience Cards. One pack per group (4-6 people)

Remember, if you decide to buy a pack you get 10% discount with a newsletter subscription

Flip chart paper and pens


 Professional Use: Organisational Development, Team Development, Consultancy

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Who is this Creating a Resilience Plan in testing times exercise for?

This exercise is designed to help boost the resilience of groups that feel under pressure or unable to cope. For example, when feeling overwhelmed by a forthcoming challenge or by present circumstances. It’s for people who want to better understand what supports their resilience and how to become more resilience when facing difficult circumstances.

How does Creating a Resilience Plan in testing times help with improving performance?

The exercise accesses four different sources of resilience. It encourages people to recognize what has helped them cope or feel strong in the past while also introducing new sources of resilience. Performance improves when we feel up to the challenge, when we feel we have the personal resources to cope and when we feel supported. This exercise helps groups and individuals to access those sources of support and resilience.

How to conduct the Creating a Resilience Plan in Testing Times Activity

Part One

  1. (Suggested) Spend some time with the whole group exploring what resilience means to them, guiding them towards the idea that it is about feeling like we can cope, and finding ways to cope, with the various circumstance life throws at us.
  2. Explain that the exercise is going to give them the opportunity to build a ‘resilience plan’ to help them meet the present or forthcoming challenge.
  3. Split them into groups of 4-6 people.
  4. Ask people to each share a story of themselves at their most resilient. The others in the group to listen for what seemed to help them cope well in that testing circumstance. Make sure each person gets to tell a story
  5. Give each group a pack of cards and ask them to take out the two introductory cards, and to spread the rest of the cards on the table.


Resilience Cards
  1. At each table, ask the group to feedback to each other in turn, using the cards, the top four strategies they heard in each person’s story of resilience.
  2. Each person to note their resilience strategies on four separate post-its.
  3. Share some of the observations and learning from each group, take a break then move on to part two

Part Two

  1. Remix the groups, again aiming for 4-6 people.
  2. Ask each group to focus onto the current or forthcoming challenge that is testing or going to test their ability to cope, their resilience, encouraging them articulate how or why exactly they feel the forthcoming challenge might overwhelm their ability to cope. For example, they might say:

‘We feel there is going to be a lot of pressure and we might splinter as a team. Start blaming each other’ or ‘We’re worried life is going to become all work and no play and some of us get really stressed if that happens’ or ‘It just feels like they’ll be no time to talk properly, its starting already,’ or ‘There is so much going its already its getting really confused about what we’re actually supposed to be achieving here’

  1. Take feedback from each group about the anticipated challenges and write the key ones up on a flipchart.
  2. Ask people to come up and stick the resilience strategies already identified in their first conversation that are recorded on their stickies, against the concerns listed.
  3. Encourage the group to recognize the resilience strategies or resources they already possess that could help them meet the challenge.
  4. Next, ask each group to spread the cards out and, looking at the challenges identified, to select 4-7 strategies they believe will help
  5. Each group to feed back their choices and why. Add these to the board using more post-its or a pen. Take a break

 Part Three

  1. Remix the group if this would be helpful
  2. Allocate each group (or allow them to choose) 4 of the identified resilience resources from the board. Ask them to look at the reverse of the cards to see the suggested ways of activating the strategy.


Resilience Cards
  1. Each group to think of ways the suggested activities could be incorporated into the life of the team or the organisation. For example, could they be used at the start of meetings? Lunch time clubs? Buddy pairs?
  2. Share and discuss, agree 5-10 strategies to incorporate into team life to help boost and maintain resilience. Draw up into a plan, agree a process for making it happen and for reviewing effectiveness.

 Part Four

  1. To finish, give time for each person to select up to five strategies to implement personally in their own daily life, routine.
  2. Let them share them in pairs, to discuss how they intend to do them, and how they hope they will help.
  3. Check how the group is feeling now about the challenge, and how able they feel to boost their resilience when needed .

 Remember, if you decide to buy a pack of the resilience cards, you get 10% discount with a newsletter subscription

If you have any queries about the exercises as described, please contact We will publish any queries and answers in the next newsletter to the benefit of all.

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Sarah Jane Lewis