How do you lead in trying times? Help us contribute to the dialogue.

November 29, 2016

An open letter to the Center for Positive Organizations community:

Our hearts have been heavy the past few weeks as we have witnessed hateful crimes on the University of Michigan campus, and talked to many who are coming to grips with the current social climate.

In dialogue about how we can best be a resource in these difficult circumstances, we have decided to revive and refresh the “Leading in Trying Times” section of our website, which was first created by the Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) community in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. Although the context was different, and importantly so, some of the advice given in the essays is very valuable for many people today.

We believe that positive organizations are an essential foundation for a positive society. We share this belief regardless of our political affiliations. While some are tempted to write off ideas from POS in the grip of adversity, we can call upon our research and experience base to demonstrate that the focus on purpose, meaning, compassion, resourcefulness, forgiveness, reciprocity, inclusion, gratitude, courage, trust, respect, virtue, empowerment, helping, proactivity and other aspects of creating a flourishing community are more important than ever in building resilience and meeting the demands of a changing world.

In this spirit, we invite you to contribute a reflection essay of about 750-1000 words or a 2-3 minute video offering that we can host on our website. We welcome your creativity: how can we employ core ideas of POS in ways that make them useful and accessible to leaders and change agents who are working in the midst of challenge now?

The vision for these pieces is not partisan, but rather to hold strong to the idea that flourishing communities that foster well-being are crucial and to share our reflections on how to support and grow such communities. We know that such communities are possible because we have the opportunity to live them together, even in the midst of our own challenges.

While we would love to have submissions now that will help launch the resource page, we know that this is a worthy topic that will be valid over the long term, and we will accept entries on a rolling basis as they come in.

We hope you’ll join this effort! Please submit your entry to Monica Worline at We will be curating essays from across the spectrum of the CPO community, and a volunteer team of editors and reviewers will help guide the growth of the resources on the site.

Gretchen Spreitzer, Chris White, and Monica Worline