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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Nicholas

As a leader, how do you handle major setbacks?

As a leader, how do you handle major setbacks? When you're in the storm, how do you stay true to yourself and your values while continuing to advance your career strategically? A C-suite executive who recently began working with me was in the biggest storm of his career. His firm's business model was failing. Innovation was stalled. Customers were troubled. Market position was dwindling. Access to working capital was limited. Nearly a year of acquisition talks had passed but, one by one, prospective buyers had left the deal table. The industry was chatty about the company's missteps. Leaders previously excited about an attractive equity buyout were losing conviction, and morale across the company was low. "I'm conflicted. Recruiters are courting me hard right now, but I feel a responsibility to hang on and try to turn this around. The past year has been exhausting." He was right - he was exhausted. He had been on the dance floor working hard to help save the company, instill confidence in his team and the board, maintain client satisfaction, and support his peers. There was little left to ascend to the balcony to regain perspective, but that was exactly where he needed to be, and I was honored to escort him there. We dug deeper into the realities of his present situation and explored various go-forward options where he was, analyzed ideal outcomes and their probabilities, and even evaluated a few external job opportunities he was in early talks about. And most importantly, we returned to his values and goals - what mattered most to him, what he wanted to accomplish long-term, who he was as a leader, what he wanted to create (important word!). We worked forward and backward. It was difficult and uncomfortable at times, but he didn't give up. On our recent call, his spirits were lighter, and he was encouraged by the progress he was making on his accountabilities and "the plan" we had built. He quipped near the end, "Andrea, my career is a construction zone right now." "They pretty much all are," I responded with a smile. Staying true to who you are and your aspirations as you effectively navigate the inevitable professional storms is true success. If you're seeking a guide, let's talk. hashtag#Executivecoach hashtag#Leadershipdevelopment hashtag#Success hashtag#Coachsultant hashtag#Careerstrategy

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