Value Adds in This Article and Pt.2:
- Learn to birth opportunity from any difficult time
- Leadership badge: how to handle adversity
- Move from trial to turning point
Must Reads to Partner With:
- Crucial Conversations (Paterson, Grenny, McMillian, Switzler)
- Crucial Accountability (Paterson, Grenny, McMillian, Switzler)
Trust & Respect Are Earned on Difficult Ground
TGIM winners. It’s that time again, Monday. It’s the only day of the week where there are 7 days ahead of us to create impact and value in the lives of those in and around us. This week I wanted to piggy back off my son being in intensive care for the first month of his life and talk to you about my top 4 favourite decisions during CRISIS. Many have asked!
I believe a leaders top currency is trust and trust in built in the trenches. As an influencer, you’re either making withdrawals or deposits to that trust account, daily. Withdrawals are where you’re not succeeding at overcoming obstacles in your life, leading to either; others losing ground with their trust for you as a leader or YOU losing ground in your self image. Often both.
“…I immediately knew I had to cancel an upcoming leadership conference in the States that would put awash nearly a year of planning.”
Like finances, learning how to steward the deposits and withdrawals to your trust account is going to make or break your success as a leader (and influencer) of people. During crisis in your life, it’s critical to remember your core values and keep one eye on your desired outcome when it comes to making your next decision. I have had; years in court, businesses collapse, best friends die on a dime, my first wife pass at 30 years of age. To name a few. I don’t share that for glory but moreover, to let you know that it’s my lab. I’m no stranger to having to make tough calls in tough times and wouldn’t change a THING.
When my first son had to be revived at birth and transferred to ICU last week, I immediately knew that I had to cancel an upcoming leadership conference in the States that would put awash nearly a year of planning and forgo potential ground towards my wife and I’s legacy. That may sound like an easy decision so let me paint you some context; that conference has been a yearly attendance for my wife and I for over 5 years. Time and time again, it has literally given us the fuel to move our future that much closer to retiring young and leaving a legacy for our children and living a life of impact and freedom. It’s been a chance to get around thousands upon thousands of like minded free thinkers and entrepreneurs who collaborate on servant leadership strategies that are literally shaping societies around the world. In our calendar it’s a NON NEGOTIABLE to attend annually. Our team of business owners were expecting and in many cases, relying on us being there. With less than 48 hours notice, I announced I wouldn’t be attending for the first time in over half a decade. Major decision.
In Greek, CRISIS means a Decision.
Bill – ‘I heard you have a hard time making decisions Joe?’ Joe – ‘Well yes. And no.’
John C Maxwell says, “A crisis is an intense time of difficulty requiring a decision that WILL be a turning point that will either make us better or worse.” I think that’s right on.
Turning Points in History: Turning Crisis Into Opportunity
Whilst there is a template I follow when it comes to making decisions in difficult waters, it’s important to understand that there are different types of crisis and, as a result, different layers of emotion that follow. Next week I’m going to share more here and more usefully, strategies I’ve used to navigate stormy waters. For this week I wanted to give you examples of MAJOR decisions that have been made throughout history that have and continue to serve to inspire me. Here are my top 4:
1. NUCLEAR WAR AVERTED: The Cuban Missile Crisis, September 1983
Little known Stanislav Petrov, a Soviet Air Defense Force lieutenant, was on a late shift when his screen indicated that with nearly an 100% certainty, that five US missiles were approaching the Soviet Union. Boom. Crisis. Unfazed, intuition led him to believe something wasn’t quite right and Petrov chose not to report the incident to his superiors. Upon immediate, deeper analysis, he realized that it was actually an electronic malfunction and in doing so, prevented the outbreak of nuclear holocaust. Wow – what would you have done?
2. LOSING HIS ARM TO LIVE: Aron Ralston, 2003
How many of us would have made this decision? Canoeing alone in the state of Utah in 2003, Aron Ralston slipped and fell into a tight cravasse, becoming trapped underneath an immovable boulder. For five days he stayed alive drinking rapidly depleting water and then his own urine. Akin to a movie, Aron then filmed a goodbye message on his camera before making one of the hardest and most painful decisions imaginable. With only a slight chance he’d even survive, Ralston proceeded to break his arm and then, wait for it, amputate it with a small pair of pliers! Against all odds, Aron survived and now spends his time in world travel and as a motivational speaker. What a decision in a life or death crisis!
3. SAVING THE WORLD: Winston Churchill, May 1940
There’s little doubt among most that Winston Churchill, the beaver on the dam, saved Europe. And the world. On a cigar smoke filled, close aired afternoon on May 28th 1940, he would announce against all odds, with a divided cabinet (to say the least), driven to the brink of defeat, the decision for Britain to fight. Since the loss of the American colonies, Britain was staring straight down the barrel of it’s biggest humiliation and having been Prime Minister for JUST 3 WEEKS, he made one of the most important decisions, during high crisis, of the modern era. Could you have held your nerve?
4. CHANGING BASEBALL: Billy Beane ushers in a new era, 2002
In 2002 Billy Beane, the GM of Oakland Athletics, changed baseball. Facing the proverbial Everest, the Oakland A’s were tasked with having to build a heavily depleted team on a comparatively shoe string payroll that was one third of that of richer teams. One third! Recruiting the help of a green Harvard alum with a background in economics and a passion for analytics, the pair put together a team of no name players using Bill James’ unorthodox statistical approach that hadn’t been used in over a century! The Oakland Athletics went on to win an unprecedented 20 consecutive games, setting the American League record. Amazing.
Whilst I could have written my top 30, I hope these serve to inspire all you budding and standing CEO’s out there, that BOLD decisions during a crisis can both save lives and change the course of history. Think you’re not that important? Think again. YOU MATTER. And the decisions you make today could change the course of the world tomorrow. Good luck!
PS. email me feedback anytime. I might just need it firstname.lastname@example.org