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Updated: Oct 5, 2021




The answer is โ€œof course you areโ€! Itโ€™s almost a rhetorical question at the moment, isnโ€™t it?


In Australia and across the world weโ€™re battling disruption on many fronts. As I write this, I should be packing my bags to go on our first family holiday in 18 months. However, within the last 24 hours, these plans have unravelled like a hole in a knitted jumper. Now, they are just a tangled pile of wool on the floor.


Iโ€™m not alone. There are millions of people dealing with unexpected and unwelcome events with consequences big and small.


As an optimist, I can find the silver lining in pretty much any situation. I mean, it could be worse, right?


As a dear friend reminded me some time ago, โ€œjust because others have it worse or it could have been worse, doesnโ€™t mean whatโ€™s happened isnโ€™t sh*tโ€. Itโ€™s not fair and it sucks!


In times like these, being โ€˜naturally positiveโ€™ can be a good thing, but there are times when itโ€™s unhelpful. As I learnt the hard way around 10 years ago, this is especially so when we're leading others. Our โ€œput a smile on your dialโ€ attitude can be seen as though we donโ€™t appreciate the gravity of the new situation. We can also come across as lacking empathy or being insensitive to how the disruption has impacted others.


On the other hand, weโ€™ve all got important jobs to do and wallowing in our disappointment isnโ€™t going to get them done.


So, what can you do?

Whether your 'team' is in your workplace or in your lounge room, the following 7-step conversation will help.


  1. Pause - Donโ€™t do anything until youโ€™ve taken time to think (even if itโ€™s just 30 seconds)

  2. People - Where is everyone? How are they feeling? What does this mean for them? How am I feeling? What does it mean for me? What do we need now?

  3. Purpose - What were we trying to achieve before we were so rudely interrupted?

  4. Plan - Which elements are still intact and which ones have fallen apart?

  5. Possibilities - Are there any opportunities that are available now that werenโ€™t available before?

  6. Priorities - Whatโ€™s most important versus โ€œworry about it laterโ€?

  7. Path - How can we move forward and what do we need to do next?


Today, I am at Step 2. In fact, I have given myself permission to be unapologetically disappointed, frustrated and โ€˜over-this-whole-COVID-thingโ€™ ALL day.


Tomorrow, however, that will stop, because thereโ€™s still a holiday to be had, even if itโ€™s not the one that was planned. Who knows? Maybe it will be an even better one.


Hang in there and keep calm and curious.




#curlyconversations#teams#disruption#leadership

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