When we think of crisis, it conjures up thoughts of instability, danger and abruptness. We are trained to avoid those kinds of situations. Furthermore, when they occur, we seek the scapegoat in order to blame them for our discomfort.
Yet, in retrospect, a crisis can bring out the best in us when there is a clear goal to be achieved. And it often serves to develop us for the better both personally and professionally. In some cases, it brings us closer to the people around us.
If a crisis can serve our best interest, why does the word have such a negative connotation? I am going to ask you to consider crisis from an empowering perspective.
When we become complacent, a crisis can bethe best thing to ever happen to an individual, group, company or country. It can serve as a wake up call. While no one wants to admit they were asleep at the wheel, it is difficult to debate that everyone gets a little complacent at some point. Sometimes being the best can be the catalyst for complacency. And getting too comfortable has consequences.
Whether you lose a major customer or lose the love of your life, it can be an opportunity for you to examine yourself or your business. Instead of being angry and asking why is this happening to me, ask what was the person or client not getting from you. Take responsibility for what was missing. In some cases, you will have to develop new skills or a new way of thinking.
When it comes to corporations, Sony is an example of complacency. They had developed a reputation for making the best Walkman. However, when Apple created the iPod, Sony had to completely restructure their product offering. The iPod was abrupt and disruptive to Sony’s business. Therefore, they had to change the way they thought about listening devices. The Walkman, while their pride and joy, had become obsolete. Sony took advantage of the crisis and created their version of the iPod. As a consequence, they had to change design, technology, manufacturing, marketing and the retail experience.
While these changes allowed Sony to recapture customers, they would also develop new skills and competencies in the process. It allowed them to enhance the customer experience in their stores and gave them a new perspective on technology.
The same is true when individuals experience crisis. Instead of taking flight, fighting or freezing, a chaotic situation is an opportunity to learn about yourself. It opens the door for you to develop new skills that are often transferable within your career or personal life.
I acknowledge that when you are in them middle of a crisis it is difficult to see the benefits of the situation. However, as an alternative perspective, I suggest, as a practice, you constantly push yourself into territory that is unfamiliar to you. Think about what is possible beyond what you already know. Create a plan for accomplishing the possibility and take action to execute it. This practice helps build competencies for handling crisis. When an expected crisis does occur, you will be better prepared mentally to hold a steady course to achieve what you are committed to instead of viewing the crisis an unwanted distraction.
What do you think? I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, tell me what you would like to hear about.