We are all faced with turning points at various times during our life. It could be a turning point in your career, a crossroads in your personal life, securing your first round of funding or losing your job. You may perceive a turning point as a negative event, but ultimately it can help lead to a positive outcome.
Here are three suggestions to use a turning point to lead to a positive outcome, whenever it may arise.
1. Ask different questions
Often leaders can be so focused on a specific goal and quest to drive the team forward that they might be reluctant to try a new approach or path forward.
After a successful career as CEO of Boeing Commercial Aircraft, Alan Mulally took over as Ford Motor Company’s CEO in 2006 and started to rebuild the troubled auto company into a profitable company, following a loss of $12.7 billion. Many people thought the prospects of this were dim, with the company receiving a large auto bailout to help it survive.
Mulally realised he didn’t know all the answers about fixing an auto company, however he was confident that someone in the business would have the talent to solve key problems when they were properly identified. Mulally used a different leadership approach for Ford and held weekly business plan review meetings where the person in charge of each area shared key priorities and trouble areas for their business. Instead of Alan offering suggestions, he asked: "who are the best people at the company who can help?" This simple question shifted the mindset for how problems were approached and became a turning point to return the company to profitability.
Reframe obstacles to see solutions
Achieving goals can be frustrating as there is an element of uncertainty when you hit an obstacle and don’t have a solution. The obstacles may at first seem impossible to overcome - until you shift your perspective. It could be a rejection, firing or financial issue that gets in your way.
Dominique Dion, a restaurant owner, was studying for his MBA when he developed dairy and gluten allergies. For many, allergies can be life-threatening and require a major diet change. Dion used this obstacle as a turning point and opened Zero8, a restaurant in Montreal, which caters to people with allergies and eliminates the most common food allergens including gluten, dairy, eggs, fish or shellfish, soy, sesame and nuts. When the restaurant was forced to close after a rent hike, a crowdfunding campaign helped Dion open a new location. As a result of these obstacles and turning points, Dion is now considering launching an allergen-free food chain and is crowdfunding to make it happen. When you shift your mindset, turning points can lead to new opportunities.
Have a vision
Entrepreneurs need to have a vision for where they want to take an idea. You also need to have the strength to change the vision, even if it means shifting away from a successful idea. For example, Oprah Winfrey had the most popular daytime talk show for years until she decided to shift the show’s focus to be more spiritual because she was passionate about changing lives.
People didn’t understand this new concept and the show lost its number one ranking. At this point, they could have gone back to the original format but she stuck to her vision. She eventually fine-tuned the show and came up with the slogan "live your best life". People embraced this new phrase, which was very different than other shows on television at the time. Every show had to improve lives, otherwise Oprah would not approve the idea. When Oprah shifted her vision it became a turning point in the show’s history and helped them re-secure the top rating until the show went off the air after 25 seasons. It’s ok to shift your vision regardless of external factors.
Turning points can happen in every area of our life at any time. You have to ask different questions to help shift your perspective, step into the unknown and have confidence to pursue your dynamic vision. The turning point that positively changes your life may be just around the corner.