Archive for the 'Tough Times' Category

We Are 20 Percent Up

“We are 20 percent up on last year at this time” said Michael the manager at the gym where I exercise when I asked how his business was doing.

“What’s the secret” I asked. I always look for anecdotal evidence. It often brings new insights.

Here is what Michael said:
First, because people are not spending on a new car or vacations, they invest in themselves more in order to feel good.
Second, we improved our customer service and personalized our offerings to a greater extent.
Third, it’s all about word of mouth and referrals.

There you have it, key trends and elements for success in this economic environment.

1. People invest in themselves, in fitness, well being and growth to help them counter challenges.
2. Personalized customer service is king.
3. Referrals are the gold mine.

How can you apply these three elements to your business in new ways?

© Aviv Shahar

Bounce Forward

Discover the two natures of resilience.

© Aviv Shahar


Resilience is the ability to bounce back, pick yourself up and go on.
It is the power to self-heal, renew and to
always be taking the next step forward.
It is in reconnecting to the line of your life and endeavor,
joining it where it has moved to now, not where you left it last.

Resilience has the quality of robustness;
it is the capacity for spontaneous recovery.
The repair, replenishment and recharge
are generated by the will to live and to go on,
and by the determination to take the next step, to proceed forward.
It is the regeneration of all that can be.

Resilience is another name for life itself
and for the power of nature to recreate itself.
It is more than coming back to previous equilibrium, much more.
It is the ability to embrace change and be made new in it,
to seize the new opportunity it brings.
You have seen a toddler moving from crying to smiling to laughing in seconds – that’s resilience.
You’ve seen the people devastated by an earthquake or a Tsunami,
how they pick up and go on – that’s resilience.

You have seen yourself coming to the end of your rope, the end of your strength,
reaching a point of despair; to then find a new start and discover a new day,
to move forward again in a new way and with a new power – that’s resilience.

Resilience knows no end. It has no limits and no boundaries.
It is the fountain of life and living;
the absolution that spring brings to winter;
the unstoppable vine of growth, of love, of beauty and of purpose.
It is the hope passed on from one generation to the next,
and the covenant that there shall always be a new day,
and that you, too, can always make a new start.

Let us resilient on.


Tele-seminar opportunity: The Five Dimensions of Resilience
Discover how to build your resilience and bring renewal to your life and your work. In this rare tele-seminar you will find out why some people thrive when faced with challenge and how you can build the power of resilience. You will identify the stress traps and how to avoid them. We will share with you the ten practices used by innovative leaders to turn setbacks into momentous breakthroughs and explore practical strategies to help you develop the five dimensions of resilience. Join our next tele-seminar “Breakthrough Mindsets for Tough Times” on Friday, June 5th.

© Aviv Shahar

In Hard Times, The Soft Stuff Is Crucial

You feel maxed out, stretched thin and overwhelmed. You are a leader and you feel you have no time and no energy for the soft stuff, especially now that the times are hard and uncertain.

What’s the blind spot?
The “soft” stuff becomes even more important in hard times. That’s the blind spot. More than ever, the right kind of soft stuff gets the most results when it’s hardest to produce it. Here are some of the soft things you cannot afford to leave behind:

1. Truly listen.
2. Ask, why?
3. Get curious. Get genuinely interested.
4. Say, thank you.
5. Try to make things easier for others. Remove unnecessary blockages.
6. Recognize and appreciate the contributions of others. Celebrate small successes.
7. Relax. Yes, take a deep breath and relax.
8. Have a good laugh.
9. Go out of your way to help someone.
10. Devote time to the key people in your life. It’s not the quantity of time. It’s the quality. Eight minutes of complete presence are much more meaningful than four hours of multi-tasking.

Enabling. Accepting. Supporting. Encouraging. Positively challenging. Appreciating. These are some of the “soft” actions that bring out the best in others and in ourselves in times of need.

© Aviv Shahar

From Breakdown To Breakthrough

Breakdowns herald breakthroughs. Breakdowns lead to breakthroughs.
What was is no more. Companies that were strong and stable are faltering and failing. Political, economic and social structures are collapsing. Every day brings new headlines. You wake up to find out that the world has changed.  In the darkness you begin to see the stars.

These are signs of transition; of big systemic transformation, an epoch change. Fear abounds. What was true yesterday is no more. Rapid changes bring confusion and uncertainty. Inside the chaos are the seeds of new opportunities. Wherever a door is shut, a new window opens up. Growth, hope and possibilities are found amid destruction. Breakdowns lead to breakthroughs. Stars shine in the dark.

  1. Get centered. Take a deep breath. Focus.
  2. Do not fight change. Relax into it. Ease into a new discovery. Move from looking backward to looking forward.
  3. Be confident. Trust yourself. You have overcome greater difficulties.
  4. This too shall pass. Know that all is well. Yes, all is well.
  5. Take time for yourself. To think. To reflect. To re-center. To plan. Re-discover you. Reconnect to purpose.
  6. Attend to your network. Give and find support. Go out of your way to help.
  7. Lead. Open new doors for yourself and for others. Dare to step up.
  8. Be gracious. Create a space. Make allowance. We all need our time. Some a little slower. Some a little faster.
  9. Count your blessings. Health. Companionship. Friendship. Beauty. Humor. Meaningful connections and conversations.
  10. Better days are coming. Greater opportunities for you are ahead.  To contribute. To be present. To find what you are here for. To Serve. To Lead.

© Aviv Shahar

How is your Lemonade?

In a leadership summit we facilitated last week, a Chinese speaking bright strategist and a highly competent executive from Taiwan reminded us that in Chinese, the written character that speaks of danger and risk also contains the character of opportunity. We were all reminded by his observation that when life dishes out lemons you are there to make the best lemonade in town. Here is a little addition:
Lemons = tough challenges (which contain opportunities).
Water & Sugar = your relationships – family, friends, clients, peers, team, community, support network… (In tough times, your relationships are everything.)
Squeezer = your creativity, innovation, gumption, resilience, courage and sense of humor.

How is your Lemonade?

© Aviv Shahar

Are You Generating Value?

In good times and in tough times, the surest and safest tactic is to become the best value generator you can be.

Here are ten things you can do to generate and bring great value to your stakeholders.

  1. Be clear about the most important – the vital things.
  2. Identify the key people you serve.
  3. Learn their concerns, needs and issues.
  4. Don’t let not knowing inhibit you – ask questions to better understand until you feel you do understand.
  5. Develop versatility in your communication. Over-communicate.
  6. Practice situational awareness – What makes the people around you excel? What are their data-processing preferences? What are their decision-making styles? What will offer the best help?
  7. Think and reason for yourself. Develop and express a viewpoint.
  8. Take initiatives. Stake a position. You learn more and are more engaged once you have staked out a position. You learn most by helping others.
  9. Seek feedback. Never take criticism or rejection personally. Continue to improve and optimize.
  10. Find a mentor or a coach.

© Aviv Shahar

Responding To Crises – The Three Phases

A response to a crisis follows three phases:
Phase 1: Looking backward – this begins with denial and continues into argument, anger and bargaining.

Phase 2: Looking lost – when anger and bargaining with what was and is no more has been used up, it gives way to confusion. The reference that was used as an anchor is no longer there, and there isn’t a new point of reference yet.  Confusion leads to feeling and looking lost which gradually may lead to surrender.

Phase 3: Looking forward – If the second phase has led to surrender it opens a way up into a third phase. From surrender and acceptance there is a shift toward looking forward, to identifying new opportunities and to adaptive emergence.

Some never go past the first phase. Some stay at the second phase for far too long. Resilience is being able to metabolize from phase one through two and quickly move into the third phase.

© Aviv Shahar

The Test For Leaders In Tough Times

What is the leadership test in tough times?

  1. To stay clear, cool and centered, and to focus on what matters most.
  2. To recognize and assimilate the situation you are in, without being overwhelmed.
  3. To free your people to engage in the most essential tasks and to help them create your organization’s future.
  4. To uphold your core values and principles, while being ready to adapt in a shape-shifting situation.
  5. To resist the downward spiral of diminishing returns and defeat.
  6. To identify and frame opportunities amid fear and uncertainty.
  7. To stay open minded and at the same time execute your strategy.
  8. To invest in creativity and innovation.
  9. To build confidence and trust.
  10. To create a vision that rallies all stake holders

© Aviv Shahar

Never Run Empty

Never run to the bottom of the tank. It is the most dangerous thing that you can do. When you use yourself to the very last drop of energy and willingness, you start using up a precious energy that was not meant to be used. The last drop of energy is a crucial safety reservoir to be retained for self maintenance, to fuel your recovery and daily replenishment. Running to the bottom and then running on empty is dangerous. You make yourself brittle and susceptible to illness.

Make it a point to notice the red light on your energy dashboard.  Work on building your resilience and recoverability reservoirs. Never run Empty.

© Aviv Shahar

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