Lessons learned from the Navy SEALs on what “resilience” really means for the built environment

A short while back, I had a chance to meet an extraordinary young man named Brandon Andrews. As he was transitioning out of the Navy SEALs, he launched a new company called Trident CM LLC, with the brilliant idea to recruit former SEALs to provide construction quality management on DOD projects.

In the built environment, from the Northridge earthquake, to Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and other disasters, resilience has become an imperative. But what does that even mean?

Ever since meeting Brandon, I have been truly inspired by his mission. In TIME today, I saw an article wherein a SEAL explains what words like grit and resilience truly mean in the context of SEAL training and culture:

  1. Purpose and meaning. It’s easier to be persistent when what we’re doing is tied to something personally meaningful.
  2. Make it a game. It’s the best way to stay in a competitive mindset without stressing yourself out.
  3. Be confident — but realistic. See the challenges honestly but believe in your own ability to take them on.
  4. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Grit comes a lot easier when you’ve done the work to make sure you’re ready.
  5. Focus on improvement. Every SEAL mission ends with a debrief focusing on what went wrong so they can improve.
  6. Give help and get help. Support from others helps keep you going, and giving others support does the same.
  7. Celebrate small wins. You can’t wait to catch the big fish. Take joy where you can find it when good times are scarce.
  8. Find a way to laugh. Rangers, SEALs, and scientists agree: a chuckle can help you cope with stress and keep you going.

Source: TIME

What’s the Point?

Part of the lesson here, is that grit and resilience have a lot to do with your relationship to your team. In the built environment, resilience isn’t a single component you install—it is how ALL of the components interface with one another. Therefore, true grit or true resilience, is not so much the final result as it is the entire process and how the team works together.


Image courtesy Wikimedia