It is hard to envision a positive outcome from a crisis. When I look back at many of the terrible times and events of the past, I notice they weren’t all bad. Many of them brought people together. Sometimes to achieve the impossible. At other times to heal wounds or close divides.
How can we generate a positive outcome from a crisis?
These crises generate a clear sense of purpose. One that connects to what a lot of people hold dear and care about. They carry a sense of urgency, doing nothing isn’t an option. In fact, it is exactly the response we try to achieve when setting a vision as a leader. There is a lot to be learned from how we respond in a crisis.
An example from my time at Intel
During my time at Intel, I remember the crisis we experienced with the Pentium flaw. Intel released a chip with an extremely rare mathematical error. Most users might experience it once in a lifetime, but it didn’t matter. It was flawed and customers wanted a replacement. All of a sudden, Intel went from being one of the most admired companies to being ridiculed for being out of touch. Employees across the company came together overnight. They volunteered to answer phones, work extended shifts, and generally do whatever was necessary to fix the problem. Intel succeeded and I remember this quote from Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel:
“Poor companies are destroyed by crises, good ones survive them and great ones come out stronger”
We have the same opportunity with the crisis we are facing. I am seeing examples of true leadership everyday and many more will occur. I was pleased to see the NBA suspend its season with all that entails. They made the hard decision first and others followed. We can each choose how we show up and how we will come out of this crisis. We have the opportunity to come out stronger.