Six Strategies Worksheet for Turning Adversity into Opportunity: Strategy 1

Adverse and challenging times can bring out the best in organizations and individuals. They can also bring out the worst. As leaders we have a responsibility to ourselves and all our constituents to make sure we create a climate in which people can thrive when faced with change, adversity, challenge, and stress. The following is the first of six actionable strategies adapted from Turning Adversity into Opportunity that can help guide you. Identify a situation you and your constituents are currently facing. Reflect on the following questions. Make notes to yourself on how you can apply this strategy to what’s happening in your own life. And engage others you are working with in exploring how to broaden its application to address your collective challenge.

Strategy #1: Broaden the Context This challenge is occurring in a larger context. Change and transition have happened before. Adversity has been overcome.
  • What's the bigger picture here? 
  • How can we help others understand what's happening in the environment and how it is affecting the business?
  • How can we educate others about the broader context? 
  • How can we get people to see that we’re not any worse off than others before us?
  • How do we give people time and space to discuss their answers and gain perspective?
  • What can we do to frame what is happening and what is being done in ways that give people hope? 
Copyright © 2014. Based on James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, Turning Adversity Into Opportunity. San Francisco: The Leadership Challenge, A Wiley Brand.

Six Strategies Worksheet for Turning Adversity into Opportunity: Strategy 2

Adverse and challenging times can bring out the best in organizations and individuals. They also can bring out the worst. As leaders we have a responsibility to ourselves and all our constituents to make sure we create a climate in which people can thrive when faced with change, adversity, challenge, and stress. 

The following is the second of six actionable strategies adapted from Turning Adversity into Opportunity that can help guide you.

Identify a situation you and your constituents are currently facing. Reflect on the following questions. Make notes to yourself on how you can apply this strategy to what’s happening in your own life. And engage others you are working with in exploring how to broaden its application to address your collective challenge. 

Strategy #2:  Defy the Verdict  
People need to know what's really going on. They want to know the truth. And while resilient leaders “don't deny the diagnosis”, at the same time they "defy the verdict" of doom.  
  • What is going on right now? 
  • What is truth, and what is rumor? 
  • What are we clear and unclear about? 
  • How can you get clear? 
  • What is possible? 
  • Where’s the silver lining? 
  • How do we communicate the message that we can overcome these difficult circumstances? 
  • What are some innovative opportunities that we can now explore?

Being willing to defy the verdict, and giving people reasons why, are critical to keeping them focused on what is possible. 

Copyright © 2014. Based on James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, Turning Adversity Into Opportunity. San Francisco: The Leadership Challenge, A Wiley Brand. (2014)

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