Three Ways to Use a Crisis as an Opportunity to Stand Out

By: Shari Horowitz

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With COVID-19 cases surging to form an apparent second wave, the stock market swinging like an amusement park ride, and businesses opening and closing in bursts, it’s understandable why so many people are afraid for their livelihoods. Additionally, some companies have frozen all hiring and promotions.

Combine that with having to juggle new schedules and doing a lot more at home, and it’s easy to imagine that the best path forward is to put your head down, work hard, and not stick your neck out.

However, times of crisis are often the best opportunities to stand out and get noticed at work, which can help propel your career forward.

1) Volunteer for new opportunities.

Depending on your role within the organization, a lot of new opportunities may be available based on what is happening around the world.

Whether it’s organizing or participating on a team to help facilitate a safe return to work, marketing your new business approach to customers, aiding your team with utilizing technology over face-to-face interactions, or facilitating open conversations within and between iERGs, chances are something new needs to be done at your organization and taking a key role in setting it up will help show your value at the office as well as enhance your visibility to the leadership team.

[Related: How to Enhance Your Executive Presence]

2) Get creative.

Along similar lines, now may be a time where you see an opportunity to save costs, improve productivity, better serve customers, etc. This is the time to make those suggestions and offer to help implement them at your organization.

Even better, bring up the suggestion and suggest a deployment approach at the same time. In “Leading Executive Conversations,” Sally Williamson explains that executives have extremely limited time for any one item, so if you go to them with the problem and proposed solution, they are much more likely to buy in than if the ask is for them to figure out how to do something.

This doesn’t mean that you need all the answers up front, or that you won’t need a team to help — only that you should use more of an entrepreneurial approach and be prepared to manage this on your own.

[Related: Getting Creative to Remain Inspired]

3) Stay positive.

Sometimes we may not have the bandwidth (or the opportunity) to volunteer for a new project or develop a new path forward, but there are still ways to stand out from the crowd.

In “The Inspiration Code,” Kristi Hedges talks about how mood is as contagious as a virus (a metaphor that has never meant more!). While everyone else is whispering rumors about what might happen, talking about their level of overwhelm, and generally complaining at work, I challenge you to find the bright light through the darkness. You can inspire others by pivoting the conversation in a more positive direction. That will be noticed!

The one caution here though is to be genuinely positive and not try to fake it. As Hedges is quick to point out, people can easily tell the difference. Instead, practice gratitude and find other ways to be optimistic despite the current environment.

[Related: 8 Game-Changing Strategies to Become More Influential at Work]

As a data protection and privacy manager, Shari Horowitz develops strategic, creative, business-focused solutions to managing data while complying with ever-changing global regulations. Having a diverse background — including experience in marketing, customer service, sales, management, internal and external communications, database management, editorial, and design — she is able to develop and implement high-impact, results-oriented programs using a variety of technologies.

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