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Navigating the Flooding with Relationships

Today’s Tuesday Reading is from Bill Bacon, CIO at UC Berkeley Extension. He is a current MOR program participant.  Bill may be reached [email protected] or via LinkedIn.

It has been quite a journey lately, juggling the demands of my professional life while dealing with a significant personal crisis. Specifically, as I wrapped up a recent MOR workshop, my home was flooded! We received more than 24 inches of rain in just 24 hours. After the workshops, I flew home very early the following day to find ruined cars abandoned in the streets, intersections you couldn’t cross, and a house with 5″ of water throughout.   The process of remediating the damage was daunting, disruptive, and demanding. But you know what? It taught me some valuable lessons about balancing professional and personal demands. As you can imagine, this put my leadership skills to the test.

First, I had to remain calm and composed, even when everything seemed to fall apart. I needed to continue to provide a sense of stability and reassurance to my team, even when I was dealing with the mess that was literally behind me (behind my virtual Zoom background). Leading with grace and assurance became my mantra, and it helped me navigate through the challenges.

Prioritization and time management became my lifelines during this period. With so much on my plate, I had to assess the urgency and importance of each ask, both personally and professionally. It forced me to be unapologetically efficient and make tough choices about where to invest my time and energy. I got on the balcony to see work and home in the same frame; strategic planning became essential. I had to carefully map out my actions to ensure I continued to fulfill both my personal and professional responsibilities.

One of the biggest lessons I learned was the power of leveraging existing relationships and cultivating new ones. I reached out to colleagues, friends, and even acquaintances for support, advice, and assistance — both at work and home. Seeing how people rallied around me, offering help and extending their goodwill was heartwarming. Those connections became invaluable in managing the crisis, both practically and emotionally.

Because of this experience, I more fully realized the significance of cultivating goodwill. While I thought I already knew the value of goodwill, it presented itself with much more meaning! It’s about being kind and considerate and building a strong network of trust and support. The goodwill I had nurtured over the years was crucial in helping me find resources, information, and solutions I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. It reinforced the significance of investing in relationships, both personally and professionally.

While these past few months continue to be incredibly challenging, they also highlight the immense value of the skills we’ve focused on over the last several months with the MOR Program. Leadership, prioritization, strategic planning, relationship-building, and goodwill became my anchors during the storm. They enabled me to continue leading my teams, even amidst personal chaos. Also, because of those skills, existing work assignments are thriving. I’ve taken on additional responsibilities, developed relationships, and expanded my sphere of influence.

Life can suddenly hit us with unexpected, severe weather. Balancing personal and professional demands is no easy feat, but tapping into our professional skills, we can navigate these storms with resilience. Let’s continue supporting and uplifting one another on this journey, personally and professionally.

I wish you all the strength and courage to overcome any challenges that come your way!

When you’ve found yourself in crisis, which has been the most helpful to you?

Last week, we asked about the most crucial outcome of solid community.

  • 32% said collaboration and communication
  • 26% said engagement and satisfaction
  • 21% said well-being
  • 13% said innovation and creativity
  • 8% said knowledge sharing and learning

The common thread across these responses is safety and belonging as a foundation of communities. Great things happen when we feel connected, supported, and valued. We can bring our whole selves, our full potential, to whatever challenges confront us. Related to this week’s reading, a crisis can bring out the best and the worst in us. If we cultivate resilience during non-crisis times, we will much more readily find our way when times get more challenging. What is one small step you can take today to help someone in your team feel more safety and belonging?