Finding the opportunities in the refugee crisis

Click to watch video on facebook.com/Channel4NewsAs thousands more refugees continue to enter and walk across Europe so the crisis deepens.

But a crisis often contains an opportunity. It was the petri dishes that ‘failed’ which enabled Alexander Fleming to discover penicillin. It was the lack of rainfall and harsh conditions in California that meant nobody wanted the tents that Levi Strauss had brought to sell, forcing him to cut them up instead and invent blue jeans. It was the ‘problem’ of burrs collecting on clothing that led George de Mestral to invent Velcro.

If we want to find the opportunities in a crisis the first step, as Jack Welch taught us, is to “Face reality as it is, not as it once was or how you would like it to be.”

The reality of this situation is that the impacts are emotional as well as practical. Comments on the above video provide a small sample. And as one commentator living in Sweden put it:

“Up until now, a lot of people in Sweden, have been able to go on living as if it’s still the 1970s. To them, this feels like an invasion. If we tell them they are being stupid, that won’t help much.”

Those on the receiving end of the refugees would likely benefit from a set of tools that would help them to:

  1. Calm, centre and ground themselves
  2. Identify and remove the emotional reactions that might be clouding their judgment (such as jumping to conclusions, shoulds and expectations, value judgments, blame, mistaking feelings as truth)
  3. Look for and find the opportunities in the situation (there are ten types)
  4. Choose the opportunity that suits them best
  5. Turn that into an inspiring vision
  6. Lead themselves and others to make that vision happen.

The situation is not as any of us would like it to be. But it is what it is and with the right tools and approach we become more likely to find solutions that can turn the problem into an opportunity.


Inner Leadership provides a set of tools, arranged in a structured methodology, that enable anybody to address the situation they face, identify a wider range of opportunities, and turn the one they choose into a vision that will inspire themselves and others to make it happen:

Chapter 1:
Steady, centre and ground yourself and get clear on what is important to you

Chapter 2:
Realise where emotional reactions are clouding your judgment and remove these mis-blinks to see the situation more clearly

Chapter 3:
Find the opportunities in a situation (there are ten types)

Chapter 4:
Choose the opportunity that suits you best, for the long term

Chapter 6:
Turn that into an inspiring vision

Chapter 7:
Lead yourself and others to make that vision happen.

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