How to Turn Your Fight Response into an Opportunity Response

Shelly Berlin

We all react differently when a crisis hits – generally though, our biological response is to fight, flight or freeze.  And maybe, with this pandemic, you experienced all three.  First – Freeze:  is this really happening?  Second – Flight – how can we get away from all of this?  And third, Fight – how can I weather this?  And for some, our Fight response, may actually see us seeking opportunities… How do I respond to this, stay in the game, contribute, and do my part to make a difference….?  With the ultimate goal of coming out stronger on the other side – whatever the ‘other side’ might look like.

If you are looking for ways to find new opportunities, try some of these:

  1. Recalibrate your strategic plan. 

It may take a little time before you are able to look into the future.  That’s okay – but don’t wait too long or opportunities may pass you by.  A key question to answer is: “What are the ‘seismic shifts’ this pandemic is causing – to me, my business, my sector, my geography?”  Then ask, “What are the implications and how might it impact the short and long-term?  Are there things I’ve been trying to do that I can now pursue more aggressively?  What can I delay?  What can I change?  What is happening in other sectors and how are they responding?  Do these map over to my situation?”.  During these times cash flow is critical.  Think about how you can have access to cash so you can pursue the opportunities that lie ahead.  While you may not have all the answers, engaging in this conversation will help you think through options and what-if scenarios.  

Want to learn more on this topic? Check out our blog on how to accelerate your strategic planning process during COVID-19.

  1. Deepen relationships with your team. 

Not everyone experiences a crisis the same way.  For example, some are revelling in the opportunity to work from home while others abhor it.   One way to find out is to delve into this question with your team members, “What are you finding the easiest/hardest to deal with given this situation”?  Probe deeper based on their answers, into “How might we improve this?”.  Asking your team about their own wellbeing will spark more engagement and more ideas about opportunities that could be pursued.  

If you find it challenging to engage because of physical distancing, here are some suggestions:  1:1 interviews (15 min) using conferencing software, anonymous surveys for larger organizations, or an engagement survey that checks into what has changed in the recent past.  These results will reveal a goldmine of ideas – and help build your team at a time when this is critical to your long-term success.  

Can’t meet in person?  Check out our blog on how to use virtual tools to stay connected to your stakeholders during COVID-19.

  1. Develop your own competencies or capabilities. 

Take some time to reflect on how you are doing through this crisis.  How are you showing up?  To your colleagues, your family, to others?  What might you think about doing more of, less of or differently?  Define some short and long-term goals that will help you survive and even thrive through this crisis.  Consider a professional coach to help you stay accountable to your goals.  

  1. Become a “pro” at these new inconveniences. 

Rather than fight the inconveniences we are all facing, embrace them as if they are here to stay (they might be).  For example, why not become an expert facilitator or participant of online meetings?  Here are some ideas about how to do just that.  

Want to become a pro at virtual meetings? Check out our blog on how to host successful virtual meetings. 

  1. Improve Your Processes. 

If nothing else, this pandemic has given us permission to do things differently.  This may be the opportunity to redesign some business processes, realign your organizational structure to your new strategy, or simply improve your work environment using some LEAN or Continuous Improvement techniques. 

  1. Improve Your Processes. 

If nothing else, this pandemic has given us permission to do things differently.  This may be the opportunity to redesign some business processes, realign your organizational structure to your new strategy, or simply improve your work environment using some LEAN or Continuous Improvement techniques. 

This pandemic caught many of us by surprise and gave us something we were not expecting.  This blog is about turning that ‘something’ into opportunity.  At the very least it will give us focus and a sense of control and will help us navigate the uncertain days ahead.  

I invite you to reflect upon your response to a crisis, and consider a fight response that is all about you, your team, and your organization getting stronger, becoming more relevant and resilient, and better able to help others who may not have the same resources you do.

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Are you looking to set a new, bold direction, equip your teams and leaders with new skills, or make your organization stronger?

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