Leading in the Face of Adversity: Moving from Surviving to Thriving

Leading in the Face of Adversity: Moving from Surviving to Thriving

Mar 11, 2020

Leading in the Face of Adversity: Moving from Surviving to Thriving

by: Jennifer Simpson

No matter the industry or role you are in, chances are you’ve spent a lot of time over the last few weeks thinking about the Corona Virus (COVID-19) and how it will impact your organization and team.  You may be examining work-from-home options, cancelling or rescheduling key meetings, and looking at contingency planning both in case of business disruption and impacts to the broader economy.

As a leader, you may also be considering how to support  your team so they may navigate all of the competing information out there and operate at their best in the face of anxiety.  In times like this, it can be helpful to think about what kind of response is best suited to the state your organization is in, and how to make decisions that are aligned with your mission and values even in times of crisis.

Most organizations will find themselves in various states of readiness when a crisis strikes and that informs the most fitting response to make.  To assess your readiness state ask yourself:

    • Is this an acute/critical issue: Did it catch us by surprise? Will it have significant impacts on revenue or workforce? Is it creating anxiety or panic?
    • Is this an occasion for growth: Do we have an emergency plan in place? Can we do drills or run scenarios now that will help us be more ready for what is ahead?
    • Is this where we shine: Are we experienced in responding to crisis and have mature plans in place? Can we help or support others respond with more ease?

 Knowing where you are starting from will help you know if you should be asking for help, testing your plans, or leading the way for others.  And, if this incident is revealing challenges in your organization that you hadn’t anticipated, know that you can use it to not only survive the challenge in front of you, but also to set yourself up to be more resilient in the face of whatever comes next.  If on the other hand, you are already thriving, please share some examples of what you are doing with us so we may all  benefit from your experience.