an interview with Martin Hewit
We explore Martin Hewitt’s ideas around the importance of resilience in the workplace – and his unique take on this.
A company’s biggest asset is its people. How they feel when they come to work every day has a huge impact on the way they think and what they achieve. Good leaders understand their people and know exactly how to motivate them so they can meet goals and exceed expectations. They know too of the many benefits of supporting resilience at work. Leaders who genuinely care about staff wellbeing, create teams that can face any challenge.
Martin Hewitt, a former Parachute Regiment Officer, was forced to leave the army after sustaining a gunshot wound whilst fighting in Afghanistan. He now leads a team of disabled veterans and athletes on various expeditions around the world and is founder of the Adaptive Grand Slam. Martin spoke to The IN Group’s CEO, Nick Baxter, where he discussed leadership and resilience.
Expect the Unexpected – the importance of resilience in the workplace
Resilience can be defined as your ability to adapt to setbacks and your capacity to turn mistakes into opportunities; you keep moving forward no matter what life throws at you. If you are leading a team, this means supporting others thro ugh unexpected changes too.
Martin explained, “As I’ve learned since moving into the corporate world, something might happen on your organisation’s journey that means you have to change the way you work, the way you think, the way you provide a service. COVID did that for many organisations. With tough economic times on the horizon, we’ll need to continue adapting. Understand the challenges your clients will be facing, know what it is about your offering that will help them meet these challenges, and change your offering to continue to be relevant.”
Backing the Team – the benefits of resilience at work
Get to know your colleagues, and encourage them to get to know each other. Understand their strengths and weaknesses. What do they love about their roles, are there gaps in training, do they have all the skills they need? Take the time to really listen. If your staff feel they can express themselves freely, it offers a unique opportunity to build a true picture of how your organisation is performing. When things go wrong, you know who has what it takes to help you fix it – you will always be ready to tackle challenges as a team. Then, collectively, you can reap the benefits of resilience at work.
Good leaders also understand that their decisions won’t always be popular. Support your team so they know that when the going gets tough, you are capable of making the right judgements. Martin said, “you’ve got to inspire people to follow you as a leader. Team members need to understand that leaders aren’t just trying to make everyone’s life difficult. Everyone in the team has a responsibility to support the leadership team in achieving their objectives.”
Change Before You Have To
Businesses have faced unprecedented challenges, and the events of the last few years have demonstrated just how important it is to be ready for change. Martin’s experiences in Helmand and his career in the army, have given him a unique insight into what it takes to lead people in a challenging environment. He has drawn on these skills as he has adapted to life after leaving the army and now shares these experiences with others. He knows the importance of resilience in the workplace and the impact it delivers.
“When I think about the word ‘resilience,’ I realise it’s been possibly the single most important trait I’ve needed for everything I’ve done in my career, whether in the Parachute Regiment, skiing on the development team for Great Britain, or running my own challenge events business. I also realise that many of the lessons I’ve learned along the way are just as applicable to the corporate world.”
Want to learn more about Martin Hewitt’s inspirational story?
This blog is based on the article, ‘How to climb a mountain: the key to corporate resilience’ – adapted from Martin Hewitt’s conversation with The IN Group’s CEO, Nick Baxter, where they discussed leadership and resilience in depth for our Unlocked podcast.
Martin Hewitt is an expedition leader and founder of the Adaptive Grand Slam. He served eight years as a commissioned officer with the Parachute Regiment, working on operations and training exercises in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and North America. Hewitt was injured whilst leading his men in combat in Afghanistan. These injuries paralysed his right arm and ended his military career. Since then, he has gone on to become the first disabled person ever to reach the summit of Mt Manaslu (8162m) and walked unassisted across the North Pole with Prince Harry to raise money for the charity, Walking with the Wounded.
Insurance Group PLC. Prior to that he founded and ran a start-up at the earliest days of the internet in 1996, which he sold to Morse PLC, a Footsie 250 company.Unlocked: Culture