Whether you run your own business or are aggressively pursuing your career goals within an organisation, it’s likely that the COVID-19 outbreak has hit you for six. In the best case scenario, you’ve been sequestered from the office environment and are doing your best to be at peak productivity at home. No small feat, given the inherent challenges of working remotely with the rest of your family under lockdown. If you’re not dashing away from your desk every half hour to check that your kids are doing their schoolwork, you’re struggling with restricted bandwidth while your significant other marathons episodes of The Good Place. In the worst case scenario, you could have been unceremoniously let go from your job or placed on unpaid furlough. Or you may have to make an impossible choice between miring your business in crippling debt with a government-backed loan or closing your doors completely.
Still, though the pandemic and subsequent lockdown have wrought great changes in our lives, even the gloomiest of clouds can bear a silver lining. There’s a lesson to be learned from every adversity and opportunity to mined from every crisis. It’s just a case of conditioning yourself to be able to do so.
Here are some practical and effective ways to find the opportunity in any crisis.
Identify the positives
Every situation, no matter how grim, has positives to be found. Even if you are now jobless and struggling to find the next opportunity, you are far from alone. Tomorrow’s employers will be completely sympathetic to your situation. This time is a gift. Treat it accordingly. Use this as an opportunity to learn new skills, enhance your employability and do the things you’ve been too busy to do previously. Maybe now is the perfect time to look into that online business administration course from Norwich university. Or to learn a language. Or to do some online networking over LinkedIn. Or simply to update and tighten up your CV.
If your business is suffering as a result of the pandemic, look at this as the perfect opportunity to reevaluate your operational process and identify new ways in which you can improve your efficiency.
Organise the negatives
Of course, while we can be mindful of the positives, we still need to deal with the negatives. But if we don’t organise them and formulate an approach to deal with them, they can become all the more daunting and insurmountable.
In times of crisis, make a list of all the negative consequences that need to be addressed. By no means do you have to face them alone. Discuss them with your team or your partner. Model viable solutions for each and try to hypothesise likely outcomes.
Take stock of your resources
You can’t control your external circumstances. But you can control your reaction to them. And by taking stock of your resources, you can find effective ways to react and turn the situation to your advantage.
Everything from your LinkedIn profile to your team of employees to your iPad is a resource. The software and equipment you use are resources. List them. For each one, try and identify a way in which they can be used to improve your situation. Even if the answer is selling them.
Knowing what you have at your disposal can go a long way towards informing your strategy. And when you have a plan, you feel more like you’re in the driver’s seat and less like you’re a victim of impossible circumstances. And that small amount of psychological edge can go a long way.
Look around you. How are others reacting?
Competitor analysis is an extremely useful tool in fair weather and foul. While you don’t want to fall into the trap of plagiarism, looking at how others respond to crises can yield useful insights. They can show you ways in which you can make good ideas your own, as well as providing cautionary tales, demonstrating emphatically what not to do.
Look at what good leaders are doing. Look at what bad leaders are doing. Look at what people are saying about rival brands online. Identify opportunities to strengthen the appeal of your brand by avoiding the mistakes of your competitors while also doubling down on what they do right.
Never say die!
Never underestimate the power of positive thought! You’re not beaten until you tell yourself that you’re beaten. No matter how dire things may seem, there’s always the possibility for a brighter tomorrow. Even if you may have to face a failure today.