Three ingredients for turning a crisis into a "crisatunity"

One of my adages in life is “never miss an opportunity”. This week I witnessed a wonderful practical application of this when talking with a coaching client. We have been doing some work with her on identifying her next career step – clarifying purpose, values, skills; identifying options. In an email she advised that funding for her current role was in serious doubt. Then she said: “I don't want to get too caught up in the immediate and unforeseen crisatunity of my role being defunded”. This is the thing I love about working with Chloe*.

She knows that when life dishes up lemons, she can make lemonade. The ability to turn a crisis into a crisatunity is one of the greatest gifts of leadership.

So what are the ingredients you’ll need to make lemonade rather than just staring at a pile of lemons? Reflection: take the time to be in the crisis, whatever it is. Moving on too quickly might simply be denial. Be sad, angry, upset – whatever you need to be. And then, make sure you come out the other side with a “what have I learnt from this experience?” and “what’s the opportunity for me in this?”.

As Chloe says "moving on too slowly may be the crisis winning over the opportunity. You might not be entirely comfortable with moving on, and the whole thing might be extremely uncomfortable, but there comes a point where to make use of an opportunity you have to breathe in and just walk on into it". Support: Your support can come from external sources (family, friends, colleagues, partner, your coach) and internally – from yourself. In Chloe’s case, she has a loving partner, a coach by her side and a good relationship with her current employer. She also has support from the most important person: herself. She is not afraid to ask for help from friends, family, colleagues. She looks after herself physically and emotionally.

Creativity: What doors can this open? Chloe has worked in various policy, advice and project roles in the environment sector for many years.

Things on her list for consideration, prompted by this crisatunity, include midwifery, nutrition, further study and buying “fix ups” for renovation then selling them. Look creatively at your skills, knowledge, attributes – how could you package them up in a different way? Is this the time to take on that thing you’ve always wanted to do?

Life dishes up all sorts of crises – personal and professional. Your organisation might have funding changes; your team might lose a key member or you might experience job loss or health issues. Take the time to reflect, find support and be creative to turn these crises into lemonade rather than just lemons. How have you dealt with a crisis? What helps you to reflect? Where have you found support? And what creative solutions have you come up with? I’d love to hear from you. .