The optimistic side of change – through adversity reveals the opportunity to redefine success
The future of work series is based on the insights from my quantitative and qualitative research with ideas to think about your organization and a toolkit to take action on as a leader. This theme uncovers the other side of adversity and how this is a clean slate moment for the future of work.
Work was not working before
How was the work environment in February 2020 working for you? Were you happy? In 2019, Gallup estimated 65% of people were not engaged in their work, a number that has been stagnant for years. Many leaders I have spoken to reflected that they want more from work – more purpose, more flexibility, and a desire to fully be themselves at work.
What were we waiting for? Did it have to take a pandemic to force us to change?
On the other side of adversity, often we find ourselves.
I have always found it odd that most successful people have a backstory. A sad one usually. A time they experienced adversity – lost someone close to them, got hurt, or lost everything and had to start over. From failure often comes success. But you have to be willing to learn from the past to pivot forward positively. You gotta wipe the slate clean to see clearly.
This is a clean slate moment in time.
The last dance
One of my guilty pleasures through this pandemic has been watching The Last Dance, the Chicago Bulls documentary about their championship run in the 1990’s. I have thoroughly enjoyed it, partly because it reminds me of being a kid in the 90’s but also because it has so many lessons to apply to adversity.
Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, lost his father, quit basketball and started playing baseball, all to return to basketball and win an additional three championships. When Jordan had a bad game, he rallied back the next game and dominated. He used adversity to propel him forward.
“My father always told me to look for the positive in bad situations.” – Michael Jordan
I can relate to this. I lost my mother in my early 20’s – 15 years ago this year. From deep and loss often comes a rebirth. For me, it was launching my business focused on the purpose she instilled in me. While her loss is still deeply difficult for me, I know losing her gave me the courage to be an entrepreneur.
This is a rough patch in history. With adversity comes opportunity to pivot.
As the old adage goes, “no pain, no gain.”
Time to pivot
PIVOT! PIVOT! PIVOT!
Much like the Friends hit TV show segment “PIVOT,” leaders today are facing a big change to the status quo. The work world will never be the same. Based on my research, there are a lot of reasons to support this being a good thing. The silver lining opportunity is to reinvent how we work and make work what we want it to be. We longer are constrained to the “old school” mindset of doing it how it always has been done.
At the height of the uncertainty with the pandemic, I crumbled up my 2020 vision board and wrote a new one. I asked myself some tough questions:
- VISION: What do I want the future to look like?
- GOALS: What goals will make my vision a reality?
- WHY: Why am I excited about this?
I highlighted the word PIVOT and mapped out new goals for my family, career, and life. It felt good to be in control again. I quickly realized there were opportunities right in front of me. Had I continued to focus on the old way, I would not have seen the new opportunities. I had to hit the reset button to see the future more clearly. It was my clean slate moment.
Toolkit to take action
If the old way was not working for you, this is an opportunity to hit pause and reflect on what your team really wants. I encourage you to reflect on this personally and with your team. Work through redefining your vision, goals, and your why.
Ask your team these questions:
- VISION: What do we want the future to look like?
- GOALS: What goals will make our vision a reality?
- WHY: Why are we excited about this?
Consider making a team charter or vision board and call it something fun. Get motivated again. Pivot forward positively together.
The future of work will not be the same. There is no return to normal. This is a clean slate moment for you and your team.
This great pause is an opportunity to lead your team to success. How are you going to take advantage of this opportunity?
If you liked this article, good news. I created a future of work blog series and video series on the future of work. You can find time to connect with me 1:1 to discuss ideas here.
We need our allies more than ever. We will get through this together. Because we are stronger together.
Message me with your thoughts at Julie@NextPivotPoint.com. I personally respond to every email I receive.