The art of pivoting

Pivoting (not only a basketball term for changing direction, but also one of the most-used words of 2020!): it is something we have all had to do, in many ways and on many occasions, throughout 2020. We’ve become experts at ‘thriving in uncertainty’ – and while I know the phrase has been so overused (and you might be rolling your eyes), I have to admit that it’s a good mantra, and something to keep in our toolkit as we look toward a new year.

I recently had a speaking event where I was to give a talk about goal setting, leadership and resilience to an audience of 150 people. When I arrived, the place was in chaos – the venue had just flooded, and it was looking like there was no way the event could go ahead. However, within a few minutes, members of the organisation had banded together to secure a new location and started making plans to shift all the furniture and tech gear. 

In an instant, the team mobilised: whiteboards were quickly carted away, chairs stacked and moved, tables upended… Everyone was pitching in to help, and they even had smiles on their faces.  I was inspired as I watched these colleagues make the best of a situation that had gone completely pear-shaped! They were thriving in a time of crisis, motivated by the common goal of getting back to business as efficiently as possible.

While not exactly a perfect start to the day, the situation was actually a great segue into the talk about resilience and leadership. It highlighted the fact that, even with all the planning in the world, there’s always the possibility of things turning upside down when you least expect it.

The trick is to hone the skills and resilience needed to deal with bumps in the road. The secret is practice – therefore, you actually have to experience things going pear-shaped more often so you can build the muscle of resilience! Sorry, I’m sure you didn’t want to hear that... But it’s true! 

My zen mantra ‘how you do anything is how you do everything’ was the phrase I kept returning to throughout the session. And in a crisis moment, this team had shown they were connected, supportive, determined, adaptable and committed to their collective success; all qualities that contribute to resilience, and empower you to pivot effectively when things aren’t working. 

As I mentioned, pivoting is a skill you develop with practice, and the best part is that past success boosts future confidence, so when the next challenge pops up, you’ll be able to approach it with more clarity.

Most importantly, pivoting is about taking things as they come, rising to the challenge and (most likely) changing directions on a dime, without taking a step back or stumbling. 

If you’d like to know more about developing leadership skills like pivoting and resilience, book me for your next corporate event! 


Header image: Filip Mroz via Unsplash

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