As the former President of the American Psychological Association, acclaimed author and academic, Professor Martin Seligman recently stated in an interview…
The defining characteristic of pessimists is that they tend to believe bad events will last a long time, will undermine everything they do, and are their own fault. The optimists, who are confronted with the same hard knocks of this world, think about misfortune in the opposite way…. Such people are unfazed by defeat. Confronted by a bad situation, they perceive it as a challenge.
This mindset, an essential underpinning for innovation, creativity, resilience, and strategy-setting, is vital to any organisation and never more so than in times of crisis such as that in which we find ourselves today. In our business settings, while things are ‘on-track’, the catalytic triggers for transformational change are less visible, urgency arising from the ‘burning platform’ is less acute, and the inertia of business-as-usual is difficult to overcome. On the other hand, during times of crisis, there is no business-as-usual with survival depending on making radical choices with trade-offs on less worst scenarios. While the role of the pessimist is vital in these times – after all planning and acting on worst-case scenarios isn’t a bad thing – without the optimist we are doomed to, at best, reverting back to the old ‘business as usual’!!
However, the real challenge is less that of survival but rather in addressing the question of how we can all adopt ‘opportunity-seeking’ modes of thinking and acting. Indeed, those who can see the current crisis as a reflection point for new opportunities through reinvention, not only of ourselves but for our businesses and the industries in which we operate, are likely to not just survive but thrive. We are unlikely (hopefully) to experience a more poignant event in our lifetimes that provides us with such a unique catalyst for this reinvention. As Rahm Emanuel famously said ‘Never let a serious crisis go to waste’.
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Join us in QUTs’ Virtual Summit event: The Road to Recovery – a series of 6 facilitated virtual roundtables delivered in collaboration with government, the AI Group, AIIA, MIT, and the Centre for Optimism. You will hear from global leaders from industry, government, and academia to explore how to best cultivate optimism to reinvent your business future.
Find out more here
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