Adversity: setback or opportunity for growth?3 min read

The difference between a good and a bad Q2 isn’t always a global pandemic. 

As an entrepreneur, I learnt that lesson the hard way. Anything from a really cold winter to your biggest client shutting down can send you packing.

However, what you do to build for sustainable growth doesn’t change with the wind.

Adversity is the best teacher and we should embrace it rather than avoid it.

You learn the most meaningful and memorable lessons in life – not when life is good – but when you’re figuring out how to survive uncertainty.

Uncertain times usually shake up the beliefs we hold about ourselves and our circumstances.

The key to growth is to actively seek opportunities that arise from adversity. 

You need grit to get past the point where others give up. Just ask Shia LaBeouf:

Unfortunately, most people tend to deal with adversity by trying to make it go away:

Let me know if that ever worked for you – it certainly never has for me.

Thinking clearly in tough times doesn’t come naturally to many.

That’s where grit comes in. Grit is having the courage and resolve to find new ways of working – even when things are looking bleak.

Grit is the superpower that takes you places neither charisma nor intelligence can.

What works in normal circumstances seldom works when times are tough. 

Instead of falling back on doing more of the same (and expecting different results), put your grit to work and make the most of your new circumstances.

Choose a few things that you can do and focus on doing those. Ultimately, you’ll need to discover and optimise what works for you.

Whatever the situation, here are some golden rules to follow from Google’s Growth Lab

1. Evaluate your priorities frequently.

How quickly you respond to a changing situation can make all the difference between success and failure.

The first step you need to take is to create a cadence for evaluating your priorities weekly, instead of monthly or quarterly. 

2. Stop. Start. Continue.

Secondly, you need clarity and objectivity. This is no time for blind optimism.

Stop everything that isn’t directly and measurably ensuring your survival or growth.

Start new initiatives that are necessary and reallocate resources to ensure the continuity of your critical functions.

3. Measure and communicate.

Bring transparency and accountability to decision making. This step is just as important as the first step.

Nothing lasting can be achieved alone, so ensure that you’re measuring the right metrics and openly communicating.

4. Focus on your customers.

You might feel compelled to focus on operational problems (how are you going to meet customer demand if your supplier is going out of business, right?).

But troubles for you almost always mean troubles for your clients. Don’t overlook their needs and use change to build stronger relationships and work for mutual survival.

5. Build for agility.

Remove unnecessary red-tape and processes. Build your organisation for agility by empowering people to make good decisions.

The good news is that if you followed the first four steps, the final step will happen on its own.