I recently talked with a client who had undergone a setback in his organization. In his case, a key staff relationship had blown up in his face, necessitating the departure of a colleague from the organization. Make no mistake, it’s a difficult situation. There will be repercussions throughout the organization as people sit back, ask questions, and possibly take sides. After all of that, the organization will have to go out and find a replacement for this key staff member and try it all over again. A lot of hard work stares them in the face.

As we talked, I could tell that this client was feeling a little down. Not wanting to sound too Pollyanna, I tentatively made a statement to him that changed the conversation.

“This could turn out for good,” I said.

“All right, what’s the silver lining?” he responded quickly with a tired laugh.

We went on to talk about significant, foundational choices and ways of operating that this organization’s leadership team has been avoiding for months, if not years.

“If the leadership team faces these things and uses this painful experience as a prod to move through them, this could be a defining moment for your organization.”

Thinking about it later, I believe this more and more. Adversity doesn’t have to be all negative. Yes, it’s often unpleasant, but it can force us to see where we’ve been trying to take shortcuts to our vision. We all know that shortcuts often turn into the long way around, but we all try them too. Adversity shakes us up and has us face the facts. And on good days, it makes us stronger, more capable people as well.

How about you? How have you seen adversity transformed into good news? What are the keys?