I am blessed to have two, healthy, wonderful daughters. I'm even more blessed to have had my first daughter recently graduate from college - summa cum laude no less - from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX. We recently traveled down to attend her graduation last week. 2 cars in tow, figuring we could pack up 4 years of college life into 3 cars (our 2 and hers - she's female after all) to get her moved back home. But in life, as is often the case at work, things don't always go as planned.
2.5 hours outside of our destination, my car decided to stop. In the middle of TX. Those who've had the honor of driving across western Texas can appreciate this dilemma. There is nothing in west TX. Nothing. As luck would have it, AAA found a dealer that we could tow the car to. We safely arrive at the dealer, with little hope that they (who are very nice but have 1 guy working in service for a dealer that sells 15 brands of cars) will even get to look at the car to find out if they can fix (and if I want to fix it depending on the cost).
A short version of a (very) long story, we jump in my wife's car and continue our trip (after rearranging logistics of picking up people from DFW airport since I'm nowhere near DFW airport). I spend the next day texting the service and sales teams (while I'm in the middle of my daughter's graduation ceremony) trying to figure out what to do.
So what does all this have to do with your business? Business never goes as planned, ever. Good people leave. Product launch dates slip. The customer (or donor) you thought was guaranteed fell through. You carefully planned each element of major event but the keynote speaker got ill. Life happens.
Good leaders are flexible. Good leaders know things will always go wrong. How they deal with the sudden adversity makes all the difference in the world. How you handle the crises life tosses your way will directly affect how people perceive you, admire or dislike you, and determine if they want to follow you. Good leaders use adversity to find opportunities. Learning to effectively deal with adversity makes us better leaders, but more importantly makes us better people.
Back to my car…at then end of the day (OK, it was actually 4 days), I got a new car, I had my old car fixed and gave it to my daughter whose current car was highly unlikely to make it from TX to CO. We both got cars that were 10 years younger, I feel like she is safer, and she gets another 10 years before she has to buy a new car. Win/win!
As always, we love to hear from you! If you've got stories of overcoming adversity - please share them!
Steve is a husband, father, and business exec. He loves anything outdoors, anything that is a hard challenge, and enjoys working with anyone who wants to continually improve. And golf. He loves golf. Steve is the founder and CEO of Executive Advisory Partners.