Daily, we learn about a crisis or upheaval disrupting a person’s life that may or may not be resolved by making personal changes.
When I was in seventh grade, I realized my mom struggled with alcoholism. Each member of my family used a different method to deal with the crisis. Dad turned into a workaholic, my brother went on walkabouts and my sister married and moved away. I realized that I hung around healthy people; my grandparents and friends with healthy families and loving parents. And Mom was in and out of rehab for over 15 years before she hit bottom. Today, she is a healthy 92 year old.
Crisis also can disrupt businesses, regions or nations.
Hama’s surprise attack on Israeli villages has shocked Israel and the world. Israel had been active building bridges with Arab countries including recent peace talks with Saudi Arabia. But Israel overlooked their closest neighbor in Gaza. Israel’s response to the attack is being closely watched. While Israel's leaders make hard decisions on the next steps, the Saudi Arabia - Israel peace talks are on ice.
Jared Diamond points out the challenge for a nation in crisis is to figure out which parts of their identity are functioning well and don’t need changing and which are broken and need changed.
Leaders need courage to change what is not working. How Israel moves forward in the conflict with Hamas will have a lasting impact on Israel's relationships with Saudi Arabia, Palestine, and the rest of the Middle East.
Change is risky
We are being changed everyday. We either push against it or accept it.
Similar to nations, when a crisis hits our organization, we need to figure out which parts are working, and which parts need to change. Diamond's definition of the term 'crisis' is when there is a major turning point, when change must happen to move forward.
“The turning point represents a challenge. It creates pressure to devise new coping methods, when the former coping methods have proved inadequate to resolve the challenge.” – Jared Diamond
In addition, it requires that we draw a line in the sand. We must keep our core, the part of our identity that cannot be changed.
“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.” —Charles R. Swindoll
Control what you can control
You and I cannot control external risks; the weather, inflation, political gridlock, or evolving technology.
When COVID hit, what changes happened to move your organization forward?
We have control over internal risks. We can create a healthy culture where turnover is low, and everyone is aligned on growing mission. We can clarify our message so customers will listen. We can stop doing what is not working. We can focus resources on solutions that solve our customer’s problem. And we can build a rainy-day fund for emergencies.
Minor problems can be quickly addressed.
Major problems require change to happen to move forward.
What challenges are you currently dealing with?
Here's to having courage to change what is broken.
Eldred Legg LLC
A leader's role is challenging. My Business Report is a free online assessment. It helps you diagnose what's working and not working and offers a plan to control what you can control.