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"Bounce Forward in 2014"

As far as crises go, September 11 was monumental and the images we saw on that terrible day will be seared into our memories forever. And yet even that crisis created new opportunities.

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< Back

By Sam Cawthorn

On 11 September 2001 the world stood still — it was a crisis almost beyond imagining.


When the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, the world was shocked.


As the second plane crashed into the towers and the world realised it was not an accident, the scale of the horror became apparent.


As far as crises go, September 11 was monumental and the images we saw on that terrible day will be seared into our memories forever.


And yet even that crisis created new opportunities.


When Tim Duffy and Steve Gandy recognised that the fall out from this historic event included busy executives who were no longer willing to fly, they saw an opportunity.


These savvy business partners decided to apply what I call 'the principles of F.O.C.U.S.' to not simply 'bounce back' from the crisis but bounce forward.


Taking a futuristic, optimistic approach, Tim Duffy and Steve Gandy created MeetingZone to strategically fill the gap in the market by creating a new communication channel for busy executives unwilling to fly.


MeetingZone used the best technology to allow people to collaborate without being in the same physical location — very handy for busy executives who were keen to cut back on their business travel.


Rather than video conferencing, which could be patchy and unreliable, they focused on simple, reliable voice conferencing and web collaboration tools.


Today MeetingZone is operating in the UK, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Canada and the USA, with sales in excess of £8.2 million.


And so I want to show how you too can bounce forward from your next crisis or set back using 'F.O.C.U.S'. Because we can't know what curve balls life is going to throw at us, but it is how we use these initial set backs that can make the next year our best ever!


When crisis comes knocking at your door F.O.C.U.S. so you can begin a positive turnaround.


These FIVE steps are:

Futuristic. Be inspired by strong vision and purpose. Concern yourself only with positive possibilities for the future.

Optimistic. Visualise and expect the best result or outcome all the time. Attitude is everything.

Communication. Effective and efficient communication will always ease the change process. Be honest, be open and be kind to others.

Unity. There must be uniformity and commitment. Everyone must be on board and committed to finding a positive outcome.

Strategic. Be strategic in your approach and seek to maximize every opportunity, no matter how obscure or unlikely.


Each step in the F.O.C.U.S. process works together with every other, and not until you have understood, practiced and applied each step will you see a positive turnaround.


Another way to look at opportunities that derive from adversity is called adversarial growth.


With all the military conflicts and violence in the world, most of us have heard of the term post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition particularly related to war experience.


Often people who have witnessed horrendous violence and bloodshed are told they will never be the same again. There is, however, a flip side that psychologists have called posttraumatic growth or adversarial growth.


A new body of research indicates that when people are faced with severe adversity such as bereavement, medical transplant, cancer, chronic illness, heart attack, military combat, physical assault or natural disaster, they are often driven to use the crisis to transform their lives in profoundly positive ways.


It's clearly an idea that has been around for a long time — just think of the maxim 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger' — but it's only been in the past few decades that science and research have begun to build up a solid empirical framework to support it.


Thanks to this research we can now say without question that adversity and severe crisis can lead to great personal and business growth and positive change across a wide range of experiences.


So when you hit a crisis, an adversity or a tough time, don't bounce back from it, bounce forward.