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Harv Bus Rev. 2007 Mar;85(3):125-30, 144.

Realizing what you're made of.

Author information

1
FrontierWorks, Hingham, Massachusetts, USA. gmangurian@frontierworks.com

Abstract

A ruptured disk pressed against Glenn Mangurian's spinal cord several years ago, leaving the lower half of his body permanently paralyzed. One minute, Mangurian was healthy and secure in his career as a management consultant; the next, his life was transformed and filled with uncertainty. The injury has taught him volumes about resilience and leadership. In this first-person account, he explains how people can create a new future after a crisis hits--and how, even if they're simply tackling everyday challenges, they can prepare themselves for the worst. Mangurian identifies resilience as one of the key qualities desired in business leaders today, but he says that many people confuse it with toughness. Toughness certainly can be an advantage in business, because it enables you to separate emotion from the negative consequences of difficult choices. But it can also be a disadvantage, because it can cut you off from many of the resources you'll need to bounce back after a crisis. Resilience, by contrast, is mostly about absorbing challenges--not deflecting them--and rebounding stronger than before. The author has learned a number of lessons about leadership in the face of adversity. For instance, although crisis distorts reality by reinforcing your fears, it also puts an emphasis on what matters right now; it highlights what's important to you and what you're capable of. Another major lesson is that loss amplifies the value of what remains, pushing you to take stock of what you have and to celebrate your assets. Perhaps most important, you can't know what will happen tomorrow--and it's better that way, because it's far more rewarding to engage with the present than just to prevent bad things from happening.

PMID:
17348176
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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