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This blog is provided by Lisa Gable, CEO of FARE, Food Allergy Research Education. It is a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Managing Inflection Points that aired on August 11th, 2020.
Having worked through many times of significant global change, most notably the dot.com bust and 9/11, I quickly learned the importance of being agile in my professional and personal life. I had to “zig and zag” while maintaining a positive outward face in business, while building a home environment based on readiness and resilience.
For those of us who are not experiencing our first inflection point (aka the Covid-19 crisis), we have the advantage of a lifetime of managing and surviving stressful situations. By your early 50s, there is a higher likelihood that you will have suffered a few life altering events and have managed through booms, busts, and heartbreaks.
I’ve seen probably more than my fair share of inflection points in history, including with my time at the Reagan Defense Department during the final days of the Cold War. And, when I joined FARE back in 2018, I inadvertently created an inflection point for the organization. My remit was to restructure the organization and drive philanthropic and industry investment to help fund new therapies and diagnostics.
If Covid-19 is the first time you are confronting an inflection point, don’t worry – there is time to more fully develop very specific resilience and coping skills. In the meantime, here is some advice for budding and senior managers during this crisis and others that will inevitably follow:
- Offer mentorship and coaching and consider what you can do to help alleviate the unique stressors of Covid-19.
- Work to balance the needs of business against people’s fears. Be human and approachable. Share your own story in a manner that is comfortable for you so that you can take part in open dialogue.
- Encourage co-workers not to hide their challenges, but to share them. Challenges may that remain tucked away can negatively impact the ability of peers to meet their goals, including thriving personally through the inflection point. Awareness of a unique situation become points of information for creating systems and tools.
- Foster a culture of collaboration which transparently recognizes barriers and encourages teammates to work together to build a path forward which works for the team.
- Realize that everyone will hit a mental wall at some point – even you. Even the strongest employee will eventually become overwhelmed. Be prepared for the moment and provide a safe environment for the individual to take a mental health break for a few hours, the afternoon, or a day.
- Take your vacation and encourage others to schedule theirs, also. Burn out is real and renewal is required to meet the uncertainty that is still to come.
The point about inflection points is – you just don’t know when they will arise. They just happen. To everyone. So, to be prepared means you are a better prepared manager, colleague, friend, and parent.
Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.
About the Author
Lisa Gable is CEO of FARE, Food Allergy Research Education, the largest private funder of food allergy research advocating on behalf of the 32 million Americans living with potentially life-threatening food allergies. Lisa passion, expertise, and fearless workstyle have propelled her to achieve the titles of CEO, US Ambassador, UN Delegate, Chairman of the Board, and advisor to Presidents, Governors, and CEOs of Fortune 500 and CPG Companies worldwide.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio