On Friday, our Discovery People leadership team had a great webinar on building individual and organisational resilience, presented by Dr Mark Orpen-Lyall. In times like these, we could all do with tips on how to become more resilient and how to build resilient organisations. Mark talked about a long term resilient toolkit which focused on having clarity, managing energy, balancing the negative and the positive and maintaining curiosity. It is critical that everyone surrounds themselves with a strong team to navigate life – we tend to forget how important good relationships are in all areas of our lives. Human beings need a sense of purpose. Mark talked about four areas we can draw upon for resilience in our lives: mental, socio-emotional, physical and spiritual. Mark also shared key techniques used by navy seals to control fear: goal-setting, visualisation, self-talk and arousal control (breathing exercises) and how small micro behaviours can make a big difference in outcome – so true. Sometimes we need to be reminded of what’s important and how to maintain a growth mindset. Thank you @Mark for your valuable insights and a great session. #growth #energy #resilience Tswelo Kodisang, Group Chief People Officer Discovery, CHRO of the Year 2020

Mark is the most outstanding HR and OD practitioner I have worked with and I would endorse him unreservedly. Mark worked directly with and for with me at Allan Gray at a time of extraordinary growth and change and was responsible for overhauling our HR strategy and the design and implementation of a coherent employee value proposition and much-improved employee engagement. He also initiated and ran a leadership development program for high potential managers with great success. Mark required little or no instruction and often identified needs and appropriate projects before the business did.

Mark is both smart and practical, he shows great initiative but also good judgement as to when to consult and take people with him. He has little ego and was a great support to me in a crucial function; hard-working, empathetic and completely reliable.

Greg Fury
ex-COO of Allan Gray Ltd, Cambridge University

Mark was a consistent driver of positive change in our business. He initiated and led our people development function from a zero base to being a foundation of our successful growth. Along the way he identified pain points that our top team were not seeing, including resilience and employee wellness. In retrospect these were key insights.

In the years we worked together he developed and ran a truly excellent leadership development programme and set up our approach and work on engagement. These, and in fact the bulk of his work at Allan Gray have admirably stood the test of time since he left.

I also have to say I really enjoy Mark's collaborative style - he brings energy and creativity, a real breath of fresh air compared to my old fashioned expectations of corporate HR.

Rob Dower
ex-COO of Allan Gray, Engineer and INSEAD MBA

Mark is one of the most impressive people to work with in building organisations. He is highly effective and accomplished across HR domains, with particularly deep expertise in organisational development, resilience and leadership development. In our journey of taking a start-up in the data and technology sector through to rapid scaling, he has been an invaluable sounding board and has executed high quality training in multiple countries. I have also seen him achieve phenomenal results with some of the largest, most established businesses in the country. Behind the professional competence, Mark has a true passion for helping the companies he works with, combined with integrity and a work ethic of the highest level.

Steve Etherton
ex-COO Jumo, former Captain SAS Special Forces, Oxford University

Mark transforms teams to a remarkable degree. His insight into OD, psychology in the workplace, and particularly resilience is extraordinary. I have worked with Mark on a number of projects over several years, and I would recommend him unreservedly.

Andrew Valentine
Founder and ex-CEO of Streetcar, MBA from Warwick Business School.

It is my pleasure to write a testimonial For Dr. Mark Orpen-Lyall, who I have had the privilege of being trained by and then working alongside during resilience courses that he has run at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

The courses he has facilitated has been geared for senior medical management including senior medical, nursing, allied health and support management in terms of building resilience by improved engagement not only with each other, but more importantly with individuals themselves.

Mark has presented these resilience courses in an innovative and exciting format with real life images that individuals can relate to, in order to improve their thinking skills, while providing a psychological safe space for each individual.

Exercises have been provided for working through at the time of the course but also in letting people plan for a constructive future. Physical exercise and humour were also introduced as important concepts for keeping stressful lives in perspective.

Colleagues in the medical profession and I have found these courses to be inspirational, not only in our work environment, but also in order to look at a broader balanced view on our lives as a whole, in order to reduce stress and increase fulfilment on a day to day basis.

I would highly recommend Dr. Mark Orpen-Lyall as a Consultant especially during these unusual times precipitated by the COVID-19 epidemic.

Yours sincerely

Prof Mignon McCulloch
Head of Clinical Unit: Renal and Solid Organ Transplant, Red Cross Children’s Hospital

Working in an ever-changing healthcare environment requires great Leadership, but Leaders need to become resilient themselves, and they need to understand the concept of psychological safety in order to create a conducive environment for both clinical and administrative staff to thrive. Mark has given my team and I practical tools to include in our armamentarium to become a better leadership team and to nurture a learning organisation. His strategy has been to listen and hear what our needs are, and then to tailor the training and support accordingly. His approachability and years of experience allows him to relate to every level of management - from inexperienced to more experienced. The tools we have learnt from Mark have certainly come in handy in trying to manage effectively during the COVID pandemic.

As a public sector institution, it may have proved difficult to get the skill set of someone like Mark, but we were very fortunate that he offered us the opportunity to work with him over a 3 year period on a fully Pro Bono basis - we look forward to the ongoing learning relationship with him.

Dr Anita Parbhoo
MBChB. Red Cross Children’s War Memorial Hospital.

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If I am not for myself who will be, if I am only for myself what am I?