CEO’s need to deal with hardship

Madeleine shares an insightful extract from her interview Adam Cohen, Director
Centre for Human Drug Research

Dealing with hardship is, unfortunately, necessary..

Dealing with hardship is, unfortunately, necessary and one has to be very careful not to become sort of cynical about it. When it goes wrong, you can’t always have imagined this scenario in advance and how you might feel or how to deal with it in a balanced way. Think what the worst case could be. It helps if you have gone through difficulties before and you know you can get through it. It puts it in perspective. Nevertheless, it can be quite hard but you realize it is possible to solve it. You need to turn the fear into opportunities. Sometimes a realized fear becomes the opportunity. It is difficult to fear something when you look at the opportunities. For example, once we were close to bankruptcy due to the silly behavior of the banks. We had a serious financial problem. This was something I had to deal with. If you managed to survive once, you realize it is possible. I solved that problem and left for a vacation. However, the next day suddenly our financial director died. 

I sorted out his replacement. We hired the replacement very quickly but the board was opposed to the choice and every one on the board then resigned. You can’t believe it at the time. There are periods where everything goes wrong. You have to keep moving and manage the effect on you. I then had to convince the board to stay. If you have enough experience with difficulties, you know it will actually be ok. It is also a personality issue. You can not be totally out of balance with yourself, or very unhappy and manage well. People get into trouble. It is also very difficult to manage hardship in a balanced way if you are very driven by achievement.  An 'achiever' is unbalanced in character because as an achiever you are driven by what “you did' and not by 'how to do things through relationships and influence'. There is a lot of complexity today and it cannot be managed by a single person on mono-dimentionalism. The positive trend is connectedness, shared value, multiculturism, and multidimensionality' 
- an interview with Adam Cohen
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