How Do You Handle Adversity?

By Steve Wiley

Several years ago, a colleague introduced me to a fundamental leadership concept that completely changed how I manage adversities. The CORE model, developed by Paul Stoltz, has helped me deal with setbacks as small as losing my keys (a near-daily occurrence) to more significant disruptions like the 2008 economic collapse or our current situation. I like models that a third-grader could understand – and not a very smart third grader – which is why I find the CORE acronym and its components of Control, Ownership, Reach, and Endurance, so compelling. This is how I’ve used CORE through this adversity.

Control: Being proactive is so critical to handling adversity. The first step is to identify the things we can control and the things we cannot. We cannot control what happened, so I try not to spend time worrying about the past. What I can do is think about how I can support my clients and team members during this time. What are some of the proactive things you could do at this time?

Ownership: Though the original model calls this step “Ownership,” I’ve always thought of a different “O” word: “Opportunity.” Despite the setbacks and downsides of this situation, what are some of the opportunities that may arise? Personally, this has been moving some of our content online so that we can support our clients in new ways. What is the single-most impactful action you could take today or this week to find and seize an opportunity?

Reach: Keeping the adversity in its proper box is critical. The coronavirus has undoubtedly impacted my business and professional life, but quarantining with my family is a constant reminder that this adversity is beneficial in some areas. What might you do to keep the adversity in the box in which it belongs?

Endurance: I have taken steps to limit the length of this adversity putting plans into place to adapt the logistics of our programs so that we can safely offer them as soon as possible and by making scheduling contingency plans with many of our clients. We are looking forward to a great fall 2020 and 2021! What can you do to shorten the timeline of adversity?

CORE has helped me often over the last decade or so, and never more than right now. It’s simple enough for my third-grade brain, but you just might find it useful too!

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