Bringing Resilience into Business with a Trauma-Informed Approach

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The first half of 2020 brought hardship, job loss, food shortages and closing businesses and communities mourning the loss of their family members. Businesses now must adapt to and improve their way to serve customers and workforce as local, state & Federal agencies are defining the environment for the future, with requirements continuing to change. Customer Focus has a new definition post pandemic: the workforce has new responsibilities to keep themselves safe as well as customers they serve.

Businesses in the medical and behavioral health sectors have known for decades that "trauma is widespread, harmful and costly health problem" (SAMHSA, 2014) that impacts mental and physical health causing lifelong consequences. These sectors have been working diligently to become trauma reducing and not trauma inducing in their interactions with their patients/clients.

The Strategic Trauma, Adversity & Resilience (S.T.A.R.s ) systems methodology is available for healthcare, service based, military and small businesses to improve their systems to serve their customers and their workforce with a trauma-informed approach.

S.T.A.R.s is a seven-stage program which complements pre-existing business processes, problem solving, and continual improvement systems, as well as easily implementable where not processes currently exist. The SAMHSA Trauma-Informed guidelines are relevant to all business sector desiring to build Resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back after a traumatic event, for business this means COVID19, natural disaster, economic downturns, new regulations, and especially, meeting customer needs.

Each stage in the S.T.A.R.s program is supported with Training, Tools, Instructions, Online Learning, Assessments, Metrics and Status Reports.

The S.T.A.R.s stages are

  1. Strategy (Planning, Mission & Vision)
  2. Technique (tools & training)
  3. Analyze (data, interpretation, and knowledge)
  4. Recognize (Identifying areas of change and Customer Needs Focus)
  5. Resilient Leadership (Leading change with Trauma-Informed practices)
  6. Transformation (Continual Improvement, Organizational Maturity & Community Give-Back)
  7. Quality, Risks and Milestones (Reports to track progress & support decision making throughout the stages)

S.T.A.R.s utilizes the commonality and business guidance provided in standards such as P-D-C-A from ISO 9001:2015 (Clause 7.1.4), organizational maturity from Baldrige Excellence Framework (2020) and the six key principles from SAMHSA's Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach into a focused organizational transformation process.

S.T.A.R.s creates a unique road map for each business to use in the process of transforming into a Trauma-Informed & Customer Focused business that creates a healthier environment for its workforce, customers and their community. S.T.A.R.s is innovative and timely, as there are no tools, trainings, or assessments currently available outside of the healthcare industry to meet the changing needs of workforce and customers.

S.T.A.R.s includes problem solving and continual improvement tools that have been used in businesses process, such as six-sigma updated with a trauma-informed focus. Tools such as SIPOC, FMEA, Process Flow Diagrams, Risk Mitigation and 5-Why have updated templates and instructions to support continual improvement practices internally for workforce and externally for customers. With varied, levels of support available, any size business can use the S.T.A.R.s program.


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  • Name:
    Amy Lichonczak
  • Type of entry:
    Team members:
    Amy Lichonczak & Steve Leggett
  • Profession:
    Business Owner/Manager
  • Amy is inspired by:
    Working with individuals, families and businesses, it became apparent that solutions with a Trauma-informed focus was limited if it even existed. Trauma & Adversity is a Symdemic problem for businesses and service providers across the U.S. and the globe.

    Trauma and Adversity is known to be a major cause of addiction, learning issues, reduced life span and cause for chronic illness. Businesses are seeing health insurance premiums continue to rise, and military suicide has also increased. With the Covid19 pandemic in 2020, we now have an entire nation exposed to trauma & adversity.

    Businesses are struggling to open their doors and understand how to do business in an environment where health and safety are now a priority across industries and regardless of business size.

    Learning Resilience practices as an individual and business is possible and everyone has a role to play, no medical degree needed. Compassion and learning Trauma-Informed skills will make a difference.

    With experience in quality, standards, problem solving, and auditing, to name a few, the connection between Trauma-Informed approach and business basics became very clear in first half of 2020, as well as the increased need for professional and the distinct lack of options for business leaders. So the Strategic Trauma, Adversity and Resilience program was created to provide a program for any size business, with options for self-pace and facilitator led tools and techniques.
  • Software used for this entry:
  • Patent status: