top of page

Discovering The Art Of Resilience – 5 Steps CEOs Should Implement To Rebound From Setbacks

Written by: Danielle Levy, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Danielle Levy

Business leaders know that setbacks are inevitable. Whether it's a delay in production, resource constraints, human error, or more, they happen to the best of us. That's why resilience in leadership is a necessity.

Silhouette of woman standing near fence

In 2019, Ryan Bartlett co-founded men's apparel brand True Classic. After experiencing success in their first year, Bartlett became overconfident. He overestimated the number of units his business could sell or afford. The mistake nearly cost him everything and took almost two years to overcome. That was then. These days, True Classic is set to bring in $250 million in revenue in 2023. So, how do business leaders overcome setbacks like this very costly one Bartlett experienced? How do you minimize your losses and address problems to become a better-equipped, more resilient leader? The key is to implement the right steps. However, before we go any further, let's address the basics.

What is resilience?

If you look up the definition of resilience, you'll find it means"The ability to recover quickly from difficulties." Picture a rubber band getting pulled until there's no more room to stretch. You let go and snap! It immediately returns to its original shape. That's resilience. When you think of the characteristics of a resilient leader, you may think of someone who:

  • Regulates their emotions

  • Puts setbacks into perspective

  • Finds solutions to mistakes or roadblocks

  • Maintains their composure in times of stress

  • Adapts quickly to new or uncertain situations

  • Displays clear, sound reasoning under pressure

But what if this isn’t you? Are these qualities you can develop? Absolutely! In 2017, a study was conducted to understand resilience in leadership. The takeaway from that study is this: some leaders are naturally resilient. Others must develop resiliency through experience.

5 Steps to develop resilience through adversity

To become a resilient leader, implement these five steps to bounce back from any setback.

1. Develop a growth mindset

There is REAL power in overcoming a FIXED mindset and adopting a GROWTH mindset. A growth mindset embraces challenges as opportunities. One that is open to learning and a desire to improve. One that understands proficiency is not handed to you but accomplished through great effort. One that views feedback and criticism as a chance to improve one's skills. Having a growth mindset means enjoying the continuous challenge of growing your understanding, skills, and experiences rather than being afraid, overwhelmed, or discouraged by failure. If you develop a growth mindset, you're on your way to becoming a resilient leader, which means you will be able to better handle setbacks, roadblocks, and all the challenges that come with being an amazing CEO.

2. Assess the situation

Ok, something happened. Take a deep breath before you do anything. It’s time to assess the situation. Easier said than done with your cortisol levels out of control and adrenaline working overtime, I know, but that's why having a clear understanding of the situation is essential. Think about this as the “info gather” step. Ask yourself and your team:

  • What happened?

  • Who was involved?

  • What was involved?

  • What are the causalities?

  • What are the recommended steps forward?

  • How can we test it?

  • How can we plan for it?

3. Triage the damage

Now that you have the details of what happened, it’s time to DO something about the damage. When you walk into an emergency room, a nurse checks you in, takes your vitals, and triages the situation. In other words, they conduct a preliminary assessment and sort patients based on their level of urgency. You'll need to do the same thing.

  • Develop a list of priorities.

  • Determine which fires must be put out first and which can wait.

  • Assess which team members need to be involved and to what extent.

Throughout your response process, you will need frequent communications with your team. Communicating with your team is vital. Yes, you're the leader, but you're also the head of your team. Their advice or evaluation of a situation may be critical to working through it.

4. Develop a long-term plan

Once the immediate triage is complete, you're ready to dig in.

Create a short-term and long-term plan to help ensure this same setback doesn’t repeat itself.


  • What are the solutions?

  • What steps are required to reach each solution?

  • Who will be involved in each step of the plan?

  • What resources are required?

  • What procedures will each team member follow?

  • What communication is required, and by whom?

  • Do you need outside help, such as PR, legal, marketing, or more?

You’ll also need to develop a plan to ensure the continuity of your essential business functions while you navigate this setback. Refrain from over-allocating your resources such that basic operations struggle.

Finally, create a plan to handle the post-setback phase, including rebuilding business operations, team morale, trust in your consumers, and any other required responses.

Ideally, these plans will all be part of your standard operating procedures. If you don’t have one in place, NOW is the perfect time to develop one – before a crisis or setback occurs!

5. Challenge your assumptions

Developing resiliency requires a great deal of self-awareness and reflection, and one critical step forward is to challenge your assumptions.

Whether they're assumptions stemming from you or your team, it's essential to examine any that involve your business.

Here's how to challenge those assumptions.

  • First, assume you're making them: We all do.

  • Then, identify them.

  • Next, ask a lot of questions. Explore the origins of the idea. Uncover the basis for the belief. Determine whether your assumptions are based on evidence or conventional wisdom.

Once you've uncovered the basis for the assumption, you can decide whether to accept it or reject it. You might be surprised by the number you reject!

This step is huge because the best way to deal with a set back? Deterit from happening in the first place!

Whatever challenges you face next, know that it IS possible to navigate them with the right

process. From the initial assessment to challenging your assumptions, these tips will minimize

their impact on your business and better situate you to come out on the other side more resilient than before. Resiliency takes time, but with the right response, you can handle anything!

If you need outside help, experienced business consultants such as myself are equipped to develop and execute a plan to help you overcome any setback!

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

Danielle Levy Brainz Magazine

Danielle Levy, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Danielle Levy is a sought-after business consultant who helps business owners expand with clarity and efficiency. Danielle is also the Founder and CEO of The Boardroom League™, a team of experts providing holistic business consulting and implementation services for entrepreneurs. She holds an MBA, is certified as a Project Management Professional, and is a FG Certified Master Marketer.

Danielle has 15 years of agency experience, helping her bring a unique perspective to all of her clients. A problem solver at heart, she believes in helping business owners go from Chief of Everything Officer to Chief Executive Officer, so they can focus on their vision, instead of being distracted by day-to-day business obligations. By establishing solid business foundations and implementing streamlined systems, Danielle's clients are not only able to regain their freedom but also rediscover the joy of running their businesses.

In 2021, Danielle founded The Boardroom League™ to guide executives turned business owners through current challenges and future advancements by providing bespoke business consulting and implementation. The Boardroom League takes a phased approach to business consulting, offering expertise in a variety of areas; including business leadership, financial guidance, legal advisory, marketing, and more.

In her personal life, Danielle is an energetic mother of two boys, who understands the balance of being both a hockey Mom AND a successful entrepreneur.



  • linkedin-brainz
  • facebook-brainz
  • instagram-04


bottom of page