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Crisis and Opportunity

For believers, the Easter story is a personal one of being saved from our sins through the suffering and resurrection of Jesus.

Even for those who do not believe, the story is a powerful metaphor for wisdom and hope from which anyone can draw – cue the parallels with Jesus and some prominent people facing crisis.

Jesus was first lauded on Palm Sunday, when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, then undermined and abandoned by his apostles, before suffering the indignity of false accusation, crucifixion and death. A period of confusion and despair followed before the stone was rolled away from the tomb and he rose again in a different form to walk amongst his people.

Parallels of crisis

Look then at the rise in applause and riches bestowed on Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, or Steve Smith, former captain of the Australian cricket team. Each ultimately floundered on integrity: Zuckerberg by being loose with privacy of other people’s personal details and Smith cheating by approving ball tampering in the test against South Africa.

A global media storm of disappointment and disgust hit the fan. Facebook value lost $billions on the stock market, as well as advertisers and millions of users. Zuckerberg must now account to Congress. He has admitted making errors: he was only 19 years when he started Facebook so has had to learn along the way. Facebook is likely to be somewhat different in the future – either by choice of management or force of regulation.

Similarly Steve Smith has had to confront the global ruling cricket body, the ICC, suffer penalties including loss of captaincy, suspension, humiliation of being sent home and the likelihood of further costs from loss of sponsorship. Again Smith was quite young in attaining high responsibility and global profile. His mistakes will follow him the rest of his life. He has drawn on inner humility and courage to express remorse and contrition that will found a break through to the resurrection of his life and career.

The Speed of Trust

In his book The Speed of Trust, Stephen Covey claims that,

Trust is the one thing that is common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organization, nation, economy and civilization throughout the world – one thing which, if removed, will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, the deepest love.”

How true that has been proven for Zuckerberg and Smith, who have been brought down from the lofty heights of adulation and wealth, to deal with the consequences of their personal loss of integrity and professional failings.

Further, Covey believes trust can be developed and leveraged to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every dimension of life. Trust is an underestimated possibility, a tangible asset in everything in which we engage – from the personal to the professional.

The Opportunity

The “resurrection” in Covey’s theory is that despite the low trust in corporate and government scandals, terrorist threats, office politics and broken relationships, the ability to establish, grow, extend and restore trust is not only vital to our personal and interpersonal well-being; it is the key leadership competency of the new global economy.

It is easy to look with scorn upon those who have faltered; yet in humility we could readily admit to our own crises, some of our own making through dishonesty and lack of trust. Our own relationships and workplaces have faltered or failed on dishonesty and mistrust.

Trust requires a certain humility and the courage to be honest – something that may not be easy in a culture that has institutionalised cowardice.

As you go about your Easter activities and relaxation spend a moment to consider the opportunities that honesty and trust can flourish in your lives.

Have a great weekend.

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