Dealing with Career Crisis: Respond, Recover, Thrive

Dealing with Career Crisis: Respond, Recover, Thrive

Dealing with a Career Crisis - Look Out Above! - Bob & Nick Slater

 “There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” C.S. Lewis

The business world is full of models. Models that if followed will purportedly lead to certain and sustained business success. Perhaps the most famous of these is the six-step process found in Jim Collins’ 2001 classic, Good to Great. Collins examined why some companies make the leap from good to great and have staying power, defined as at least 15 years of sustained success beyond their “transition point.” Never mind that at least one of these companies filed for bankruptcy (Circuit City), and that others are no longer “great” by any reasonable definition (Kroger, Pitney Bowes, Wells Fargo – with no offense intended if you work at one of these. If you do, here’s hoping that you contribute to restoring these companies to greatness!).

Collins’ book makes for interesting reading, but we think its greatest value comes not as intended – helping companies make the leap from good to great – but from helping individuals make the leap from good to great. The lessons seem more valuable – and enduring – when considered from a personal perspective. These lessons include developing your skill set (see the new classic Look Out Above! The Young Professionals Guide to Success for insight and wisdom here), confronting the brutal facts, using the hedgehog concept to find your niche (illustrated by a Venn diagram to reveal the intersection of what you’re passionate about, what you can be the best at, and what you can get paid for), developing discipline, using technology as a career accelerator, and building on the momentum generated by your successes (the Flywheel Effect) versus being demoralized by your failings (the Doom Loop).

In that spirit, here’s a business model from Deloitte designed for commercial real estate companies that can be nicely adapted to personal use. It was created in response to the Covid pandemic but offers a valuable approach to any career crisis including missing out on a promotion, receiving a negative performance review, losing your job, or discovering that what you do best is now being performed cheaper overseas. Aristotle-like, since it comes to us in threes, it’s a model for times of personal crisis that is easy to remember and apply. And so:

  1. Respond. Develop and apply a plan to deal with the crisis and ensure continuity. That continuity may mean ensuring you continue to receive a paycheck or are without one for the shortest time possible. The time of crises may present an opportunity to rethink your direction, and to develop new skills. It may mean retooling such as going back to school to change career direction.
  2. Recover. Get back on your feet. Recover at least to where you were pre-crisis, and hopefully emerge stronger, and better positioned for sustained career success. If your plan is to move to something new, get started.
  3. Thrive. Now, be in a better position than you were pre-crisis. Use the crisis as a launching point to ultimately improve your position and prospects. Come back different, and better. You responded with a plan, you recovered over time, and now you will reap the benefit of the crisis or – better said – the benefit of how you responded to it.

Respond, recover, thrive. Seems simple with a mere three steps, but of course it’s not when applied to any given crisis. Here at Bulldog Ventures Media, LLC’s (publishers of Look Out Above!) global headquarters we are attempting to apply this model as we market our book and offer speaking and training sessions. We cannot help young professionals if we can’t reach them, and the pandemic has made what already was a challenging proposition (marketing our book and skills training) even more so (marketing our book and skills training during a pandemic). But hey, we need to respond, recover, and thrive. As do you. Good luck to us both!


Look Out Above! The Young Professional’s Guide to Success has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, HR Digest, CBS News, and more. It is available for purchase on Amazon, or by contacting the authors directly for discounted bulk orders.

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