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Unshakeable: 3 Keys to Leading Through Adversity

The benefits of leading a meeting team that’s purpose-driven, future-focused, and heart-centered.

In March 2020, when the world shut down and my live event calendar was wiped clean—like many of yours—I was concerned about working virtually.

As my speaking business went online, I wondered if it would survive the transformation. Would I still have an impact? Would I still matter? I’m sure you asked yourself similar questions regarding the events you plan.

While some businesses have adapted to their new normal, the events industry is in unprecedented flux, challenged by the economy, staffing shortages, Covid-19 guidelines, crunched timelines, and more. However, I’ve learned that regardless of the challenges and whether or not your business is happening in person, virtually, or via hybrid, there are three approaches commonly used by those who adapt and thrive.

Be Purpose Driven
Uncovering your organizational and individual purpose creates a north star amidst adversity. Research shows it can improve focus, resilience, and motivation—all things that leaders need to navigate people and processes through change.

If you want to develop self-driven, motivated people who will take ownership of their work, help them uncover their individual purpose and then connect that purpose to the organization’s purpose. This is how you tap into the power of intrinsic motivation that drives organizational excellence.

As a meeting planner, your purpose is to create meaningful connections and transformational experiences. Keep this top of mind and
detach from past expectations. We might not have the time, resources, or budgets we had in the past, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still create impact.

Whether you need to hire new employees or retain the ones you have, people want to work for a leader and a company that contribute to something bigger than themselves. This doesn’t mean you have to start a non-profit, but infusing purpose into your business can be a competitive advantage during staffing shortages.

Be Future Focused
Vision and optimism are the keys to a future-focused approach. If we want to lead people through change, we have to emotionally connect them to a purpose-driven vision. We must tell a story about why this future is worth pursuing and include them in the journey.

Then we have to pursue this vision with optimism. What I’ve learned is that optimism is a choice. It’s something we choose every moment. Are we focusing on problems, or are we focusing on solutions? There are no neutral thoughts. We either have limiting beliefs that keep us stuck in the past or empowering beliefs that move us toward our vision.

Be Heart Centered
Leading others from our heart starts with leading ourselves from our heart. Our relationship with ourselves directly reflects on our relationships with the people we lead.

With so much uncertainty and change in the events space, it’s easy to be overly critical and judge ourselves. That is why we must practice self-compassion—an antidote to stress and burnout. Once we show up for ourselves, we can then show up for others.

As leaders, one of our roles is to make others feel like they belong; this is a top human-capital issue businesses face today. The widespread lack of connection has people craving to belong to something bigger than themselves.

The key is to invest in relationships. Even a simple handwritten thank-you card to a supplier or contractor after an event can go a long way toward creating a sense of belonging. And that contributes to engagement, performance, and retention.

Let’s Move Forward
As we accept change as the new normal, it’s more important than ever for leaders and organizations to be purpose-driven, future-focused, and heart-centered. These values provide us with an anchor when storms roll in at an organizational or an individual level.

Want to get started on this work? Here’s a simple four-step process:

  • Take 30 minutes to write out the eulogy you’d like for yourself.
  • Turn that into a purpose statement.
  • Expand that purpose statement into a vision.
  • Schedule time each day to close your eyes and connect your heart to that vision.

When leaders operate with these values, they can make work a vehicle for fulfillment, meaning, and a sense of belonging—all the things required for businesses to thrive and create an impact in the new economy.

Mike Lee is a speaker, performance coach, and founder of MindShift Labs.


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