Expect the Unexpected: Building Resilient Leadership in a Dynamic Environment

Chad C. Harvey
3 min readDec 20, 2023


In the fast-paced world of leadership, surprises are inevitable.

A fellow executive once shared with me, “Surprises are the worst thing for a manager.” This perspective, rooted in a conservative lens of risk mitigation, underscores a crucial distinction between management and leadership. While surprises are viewed by many leaders as disruptions, they offer a unique opportunity for growth and learning if approached with the right mindset.

Below are some tips to help you handle the unexpected in today’s evolving business environment.

1. Embrace Surprises as Opportunities

What constitutes a “surprise” in your world? When unexpected challenges arise, consider adopting an inquisitive, non-reactionary mindset. Instead of viewing surprises as setbacks, approach them as opportunities to learn and achieve remarkable results. In doing so, you will likely surprise yourself with the innovative solutions you uncover.

2. Navigate the Changing Tides

In the ever-evolving landscape of leadership, it’s crucial to recognize and adapt to the rapid changes around you. Investing in people is the key to success — giving them opportunities to develop new skills and mindsets. As you navigate this changing era, remember that adapting is not just a choice but a necessity.

3. Understand the Power of Expectations and Mindset

Your beliefs, values, and expectations frame your mindset. To find the right mindset, ask yourself, “If my current mindset won’t work, what mindset might work?” Expectations are powerful tools that shape our actions, and it’s essential to cultivate a positive and forward-thinking frame of mind to drive meaningful outcomes.

4. Cultivate Curiosity and Mindfulness

Curiosity is a powerful tool for understanding different perspectives and fostering open-mindedness. Practice mindfulness through techniques like meditation and yoga to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions. By embracing curiosity and being more mindful, you’ll develop mental flexibility and become better able to adjust to new situations with ease.

5. Build Resilient Leadership

Encourage your team to view challenges as opportunities for growth and innovation. A resilient leader fosters a strong support network, both within and outside the organization. Prioritize your well-being to maintain resilience during challenging times, nurturing your physical, emotional, and mental health.

6. Embrace Change to Grow

To grow, one must embrace change. Fear of the unknown can hinder progress, so step out of your comfort zone. Whether trying a new hobby, exploring a new place, or acquiring a new skill, pushing boundaries fosters adaptability and mental plasticity.

Never Underestimate the Power of Mindset

In the face of change, embracing a powerful mindset can propel you to new heights.

Discover the transformative potential of your mindset — watch this month’s top-performing video, “ Mindset is Everything .” It shares a profound message using a humble Volkswagen Bug as a metaphor for resilience and adaptability.

And remember, I’m here if you want to dig into this topic deeper and discuss strategies to help you and your organization not only face the unexpected but also leverage it to grow and thrive.

Originally published at https://chadharvey.com on December 20, 2023.



Chad C. Harvey

Strategist, Executive Coach, Vistage Chair, servant leader, domiciled itinerant, dispassionately passionate, occasional gourmand. #ChadHarvey