Staying Calm and Positive
Duncan Fraser, Managing Director, The Way Ahead
Having to manage cuts from government and cuts within your own organisation can lead to stress and anxiety. Maintaining your stress levels and staying healthy, can help you to cope better during periods of change. Following the list below for useful tips on how you can stay calm and positive.
- Reflect. Spend some quiet time reminding yourself of how good you are when things beyond your control are difficult. What was good about you in that moment? Triumph over adversity? Strength, courage, reflection, listening, closeness to people? Be fully in touch with those strengths. Remind yourself of the positive outcomes and the learning. Use it now.
- Stick to your values. You may be appalled at the private sector values which led to this recession. One client said to me 'why should I listen to the banker on my Board?' Be really clear about the alignment between your personal and organisational values. Be honest, transparent, authentic.
- Feel the feelings. Acknowledge the sadness, loss and grief - the people, projects, grants and income you may lose. Remind yourself that you will feel anger, shame, fear, sadness, as will your board, staff, users. Engage with the feelings, let them be and use them to gain knowledge of the situation. Engage with the anger at 'them'. Use the Buddhist question of 'what in this have I brought about'. Own it. Let the anger go and use its energy to do something differently.
- Be creative. Now is the time to be playful and not to panic. Use zero based budgeting. Ask what teams would do if they had no budget, how would they still achieve their objectives. Also think strategically, maybe now is the time to invest in property?
- Add value - make sure everything you do is focussed. Ask everyone, including yourself about each project, action, decision. What value does it add?
- Stop and listen. It's so tempting in a crisis to DO more rather than to stop and reflect. Take five minutes each morning to be mindful. Connect to what is really important to you and to your organisation at a deep level. Take time out once a month to reflect. Take a retreat once a year. Listen to unusual voices. Listen at a deeper level.
- Take risks - avoid fight, flight, fright. Be calm and focus on what are the opportunities in taking risk. Cutting things. Buying things cheap. What about the merger? Put others first, clients, users, staff, the organisation's mission. If you are the right person to fall on the sword and it's right, the universe will provide the right thing for you.
- Ask searching questions - how much of a crisis is it really? Don't panic Mr Mainwaring. If the building is on fire get out, don't ask what people feel about being asked to leave the building. If it's not on fire don't waste time exploring what it will be like if the building is on fire!