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<v ->We’re so glad you’ve joined this Teach-Out</v> to explore what it means to thrive in trying times. I’m Monica Worline, a faculty member at the Center for Positive Organizations, and I want to welcome you to my home, where I’m working, just as many of you are, under stay-at-home orders. Since I can’t take you around the campus of the University of Michigan or the Ross School of Business, it’s my tremendous privilege to be your host and virtually introduce you to a number of my colleagues who will share their wisdom with you. It’s a particularly challenging moment in human history. We’re surrounded by grief, pain, loss, and suffering everywhere we turn. So why would we say it’s a time to thrive?
Well, research in our field of positive organizational scholarship reveals that seeing through a lens of possibility, even in the midst of adversity, will show us patterns we may never otherwise be able to see. This Teach-Out is designed to give you access to that lens of possibility, so you can discover new potential and new patterns for yourself, for your family and friends, and for the human communities that need us so much right now. You’ve probably seen this in your community. People are coming forward with tremendous creativity, generosity, and compassion. Medical trainees are volunteering to graduate early to join the front lines, distilleries have pivoted to making hand sanitizer, and neighbors everywhere are sewing masks to keep each other safe.
Now we know in human psychology, there is a bias toward negativity and threat. So at times like this, it starts to feel like bad is stronger than good. We have to acknowledge those threats and fears and pay attention to the anxiety that surrounds us in order to calm ourselves down, and we have to be intentional about giving deliberate attention to the positive states, the creativity, generosity, compassion, and beauty that surround us. But we don’t have to be extraordinary to thrive. Most of us are struggling just to make it through the day. And at a moment like that, what it means to see possibility is to know that you have resilience to meet adversity with agility and creativity.
And somebody said recently to me, “We all need agility, with a capital A.” Our research shows that you can thrive by making small moments matter, and one of the things this Teach-Out will do is give you the tools to do just that. So here’s what we’ll do together in this Teach-Out. First, we’ll share an image of what we mean by thrive, both for people and for communities, as well as a framework that will help you understand thriving through individual and collective action. It’s a lot to cover in a short amount of time. So it might be a little complicated, but bear with us.
Because we know this is a robust enough framework to explain both how individuals come to be more creative, engaged, and productive and how people come together in meaningful and massive ways to tackle the most wicked problems we face as a globe today. This is the same framework we equip our students with when they’re seeking to understand how to unlock potential, to slow down climate change, to end global hunger and poverty, and to build literacy all around the globe. We have a number of experts who are excited to join us to share what they know about what you can do to thrive right now in the midst of this pandemic. So let’s get started.

Thank you for joining this conversation on how to Thrive in Trying Times! Monica Worline Ph.D, Affiliate Faculty at the Center for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, introduces this Teach-Out and how we think about finding potential during these trying times.

The first week of the Teach-Out focuses on reframing concepts like thriving in terms of Positive Organizational Scholarship, showing you a way to think at both the individual and community levels. We will learn about two frameworks, the flourishing triangle and how it fits together with a social architecture that scales individual actions up to communities. The second week of the Teach-Out builds on the frameworks by diving into a number of specific things you can do to thrive in trying times.

Introduction from the Center

The Center for Positive Organizations, housed at the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business, is committed to building a better world through the science and practice of thriving organizations.

Through our field of inquiry – Positive Organizational Scholarship – we seek to understand the characteristics, practices, and principles that create these thriving organizations. We develop engaging opportunities to spark debate, compel action, and inspire further research.

Hear why this work matters so much right now from members of our center

Right now, we are responding to this global pandemic by using the incredible breadth and depth of experts affiliated with the Center to help translate our research into tangible, actionable practices. Hear from the members of our center as to why this work matters so much in this current moment.

“People are experiencing fear and anxiety right now. The research presented in this Teach-Out equips us with the knowledge, skills and practices to face our challenges with the courage and bravery that can lead to better versions of ourselves.” – Esther Kyte, Managing Director, Center for Positive Organizations
“We are currently bombarded with negative news. As we acknowledge our sadness and anxiety, we can use a positive lens to help us craft our work day for meaning, connect with our family/friends, and achieve a desired health or work goal.” – Dave Mayer, Professor of Management & Organizations, University of Michigan
“Everything I learned about Positive Organizational Scholarship[POS] has been saving me the past few weeks. It’s kept me focused on growth and gratitude rather than stress and anxiety. POS helped me build resiliency and taught me to leverage my strengths.” – Rachel Heydlauff, Senior Consultant, Root Inc.
“Positive Organizational Scholarship [POS] gives us the tools to pursue what gives us hope as a species – to perform virtuously towards each other, to be resilient in the face of tragedy, and to re-imagine how we see ourselves so that we can step up to novel challenges.” – John Paul Stephens, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior, Case Western Reserve University
“We are all in this together. Now is an opportune time to connect as a collective. Whether starting a gratitude practice recognizing others or forming connections with different people, POS provides a compass for getting to the other side, together.” – Tracy Cohen, Ross MBA ‘19
Introduce yourself: Now that you have heard from members of our Center for Positive Organization we want to check in with you. Please introduce yourself and join the conversation by addressing the question that guides this Teach Out – why should we talk about thriving now from your point of view? Tell us what brought you here. Please share and connect with at least one other member of this community.
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Thrive in Trying Times Teach-Out

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