Strategies for Turning Adversity into Opportunity – Part Two

May 13, 2020

Challenge comes in various forms—an industry shift, the introduction of new technology, and, yes, even an unpredictable and unexpected global pandemic. Whether the challenge is large or small, however, leaders are the ones who take charge, engage others, and show we care. We have a responsibility to develop in ourselves—and those around us—what psychologists call “psychological hardiness,” and to create conditions that encourage everyone to seize the initiative in tumultuous times. The following are the last three of the six actionable strategies adapted from Turning Adversity into Opportunity that can help you do that.
To implement each of these strategies, identify a situation that you and your constituents are currently facing. Pause and reflect on the questions associated with each strategy and engage others you are working with in exploring how to broaden the application of these strategies to address your collective challenge.
Strategy #4: Take Charge of Change
Proactive people are healthier and more successful. In times of challenge and adversity, leaders must make something happen. You may not control all of what is happening in the broader environment, but you are still in charge of your own life. Consider the following and make time to discuss these questions with your constituents:

  • What decisions and actions do you control? 
  • How can we positively influence the outcome?
  • What actions can you take to create forward momentum?
  • What little things can you do to get moving in the right direction?
  • How can we transform this struggle into an engaging learning experience?
  • If we are going to fall, how can we fall forward and achieve a sense of progress?

Taking charge of change is how you invent your future rather than simply letting it happen to you.

Strategy #5:  Engage Others 
There are others who are being affected by this transition. Collaboration and trust are essential to get through change and adversity. And we feel a lot healthier in trying times when we get support from others.

  • Who else is being impacted?
  • How can we engage with them?
  • How can we use this opportunity to fortify our relationships with others and build partnerships?
  • How can I connect people on the project with one another?
  • How can I let others make choices?
  • Whom can we turn to for caring support and wise counsel?
  • How can we strengthen the sense that we are in this together? 
  • Who has done something that has helped to make a difference, and how can we tell their story?

Engaging others makes sense because there simply is no way you can navigate the future all by yourself.
Strategy #6: Show You Care
Positive emotions fuel optimism and hope. That's why telling positive stories contributes to people feeling more capable during times of difficulty.

  • How can I make sure that people on my team know that I care about them?
  • What can I do to maintain face-to-face interactions and conversations with people?
  • How do I communicate my belief that the people I am working with are winners?
  • How can I share the sacrifices that people may be or are being called on to make?
  • What positive steps have already been taken, and how can I communicate those to others?
  • What can I do daily to demonstrate a positive and hopeful outlook? 
  • Who has done something that has made a positive difference, and how can I tell their story to others? 
  • What can I do to recognize the positive contributions that are being made?
  • How can I keep myself and others enthused about the work that we're doing?
  • How can I be certain to say “thank you” more frequently?

Showing you care about others is what, in turn, makes others care about you and work hard to make the impossible possible.

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