For Such a Time as This – Part 1
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer
For Such a Time as This – In recent days, I have heard this phrase many times, and I am sure many may not know where it originated. In the Old Testament, there is a book called the Book of Esther. Esther was a young Jewish woman who became the Queen of Persia while Ahasuerus was king. The Jewish people were captives in Persia and were facing an inevitable slaughter. Esther’s uncle came to her and let her know of the planned massacre and said to her, “who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.” She risked her own life, revealed to the king that she was Jewish, and pleaded that their lives be spared. The king responded favorably, and the slaughter was halted. We are not faced with an inevitable slaughter, but we are none the less facing significant challenges, and I firmly believe that we are here for such a time as this. This is the first part of my For Such a Time as This series. The goal of this series is to help you as a leader think and lead intentionally. Let’s get started.
- Make the Shift – If I were to ask you to define a crisis, what would you say? I would probably hear things like; a financial crisis, energy crisis, environmental crisis, health crisis, or unemployment crisis. These are all accurate statements. I found this definition from Merriam-Webster online: an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending. Now that sounds ominous, but what does it mean? It merely means that a decisive change is coming, and decisions will need to be made. It doesn’t say it will all be bad or good, just a change. As a leader, we need to make the shift from impending doom, to intentionally working to find the good. Every situation, every crisis has some good in it; we just need to look for it.
- How will this crisis make me better? At the time I am writing this, I have been working in my home office for just over a week. All my training has been put on hold. This is a serious problem because MACNY counts on training revenue to help support the organization. Once I made the shift from doom to opportunity, I was able to ask how this temporary shutdown could make me better. I am new to online training. It’s just not something I have done very much. Well, this “crisis” has brought about a decisive shift in how people need to learn and pushed me to learn new skills. I am working to develop online programs so our members can keep learning. A crisis makes us change. We get to decide how we will change.
- How will I use this crisis to help others? Leadership is never about you; it’s always about others, so how will you use the crisis to help others. I was scheduled to be in Orlando from March 20th– 25th for the International Maxwell Certification event. About 10 days before I was to leave, I received an email that the event was canceled. Now, I need to admit that with all the COVID-19 news, I was glad they canceled. However, canceling an event with over 3,000 attendees was quite a financial setback for the John Maxwell Team. They didn’t naively look past the reality of financial loss, but they also asked themselves how they could help others. With only days to prepare, they hosted a virtual event with a focus on navigating through a crisis. Yes, it was scaled back, but it was a fantastic event. One idea they had was to stream all of John Maxwell’s sessions on John’s public Facebook page. Had we all gone to Orlando, 3,000 people would have heard John’s three teachings. Because of COVID-19, 1,000,000 people saw the teachings. That’s using a crisis to help others.
If you would like to hear more about these first three steps on leading intentionally through crisis, please join Marisa Norcross and me for Episode 146 of The Next Page podcast.