Podcast #209

Anastasiya Lutsenko – Finding Stability in an Unstable Environment

“Seeing all the people being super organised from one side but from the other side when you drive in you understand that the that any time the road you take, maybe bombed that was so scary that I couldn't feel like my limbs. I could just drive and every time when we were stopping it was more like “okay, I cannot stop” because I felt safe, when I was driving. I didn't know before that I could drive for 27 hours, that's for sure. And so you asked how it felt. It was the scariest moment of my life.”

Anastasiya Lutsenko

She is a passionate innovation management expert with over 15 years of experience in both academia and the business environment. She is driven by the idea of freedom of thought and the willingness to increase transparency and create a motivating and resilient democratic environment through science and art. And, in her actions, she is following technocratic principles. She puts her best efforts into developing Academ.City Innovation Park Project at the National Academy of Science of Ukraine

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I think what I learned most today from my interaction with Anastasia is that when the proverbial shit hits the fan and you have to find a way forward looking at the possibilities, the options, looking at ways in which you can find some form of resolution to just put your one foot in front of the other helps you to find the direction that you need in the moment to keep going. I’m not sure if that is part of long-term resiliency, but definitely in the short term, because I think in long-term resiliency, We will also need to deal with those things that have happened to us and all of us deal with things differently.

Podcast Notes

Anastasiya Lutsenko is an Associate in Fieldfisher’s Dispute Resolution team. She has been through the lifechanging journey of having to leave her home in Ukraine as a result of the war with Russia. The path ahead is one that presents many challenges and uncertainty. Challenges that she will have to overcome.

Now safely in Germany the future of her home in Ukraine remains uncertain. Anastasiya says this is not her first encounter with fear in unstable times, as she has recently battled stage three metastatic cancer. Despite the inevitable fear that came with receiving her diagnosis, she says that being part of an entrepreneurial and research environment has helped her develop a mindset to cope through the challenges she has faced.

Having recently triumphed through her battle with cancer, and now having to have moved to another country to escape the war, Anastasiya has been able to find a sense of stability during an unsettling and unstable time.

Finding stability within instability

When facing times of hardship, whether it is with our own health or through wartime, finding ways to cope is extremely difficult as the future looks uncertain, and this can lead to feelings of fear and hopelessness. In Anastasiya’s case, she says her association with the entrepreneurial and research environment, have helped her adopt a different attitude towards these various situations.

For example, when she first received her diagnosis, she was able to come to terms with it and adapt to the journey ahead fairly quickly. Anastasiya explains that “with cancer, it was more like… once it’s diagnosed properly, it’s just a matter of getting the treatment.” Being in her third stage of cancer was a battle but Anastasiya chose to view it as a task. By viewing it as a task, she says it made the process less stressful and she was able to manage through her treatment better. 

Anastasiya’s attitude towards situations of uncertainty is that the only real stability we have is instability. Once we have come to terms with a situation of change then we are able to better act and react to this change. Anastasiya states that “What I felt, from my personal experience, is that it actually brings a lot more focus to what you do, because you understand the situation and are able to say, ‘what can I do?” By finding stability during big life changes there is a sense of resilience that allows us to focus on what needs to be done.

Adopting an attitude of restoring stability during times of instability is one which we as leaders should be aiming for. There is not a great deal of situations where we can assume that everything will remain stable. Whether it is a situation of extreme crisis or a minor change, there is no true stability in the world or workplace. Life will always present curveballs and challenges, and as leaders it is crucial that we try to help those around us to find a sense of stability within instability.

How relationships can help restore stability

Part of what can help people better cope with instability, is having good quality relationships and support. When Anastasiya was escaping the Ukraine, she explains that it was the most difficult situation she had ever found herself in. Having to leave her home, finding a road that was not destroyed by bombs, and finding a place of safety where she could simply breathe is a challenge that many hope to never experience in their lifetime.

Anastasiya explains that “What keeps you, what keeps anyone going is education, knowledge, experience, and networking. I think it’s crucial for any individual to have as much information as possible, including connections with other professionals in their area.”

By forming strong and stable connections with people, you can exchange information, experience, knowledge and receive support. You have a better chance of surviving in a new area and adapting to a new career, with the help of the networks you have created, compared to someone who is alone.  She explain that this does not only apply in times of war, but in any time of crisis.

As leaders, we need to use our networks and connections to help each other grow and find stability in uncertain times. By helping another colleague, or a partner in another country find a sense of safety again, we can create stronger and longer lasting relationships with them. Creating these types of relationships can help provide mental and emotional stability.

Emotional stability in a world in crisis

Creating reliable networks is essential for any leadership environment as these connections offer up a source of emotional support and a road to stability. But what other aspects give us emotional stability when it seems like there is none?

One way to gain a sense of emotional stability is to continue to grow, have a goal to achieve, and have a group of individuals there to support you. As Anastasiya explains “You have to stand up, you have to grow, you have to talk to people and explain what you want to do. And always say yes to the opportunities.”

As leaders we need to be able to help those around us achieve their goals by supporting their endeavours. Offering them encouragement, guidance, and someone to talk to during a time of crisis can help them focus their attention on a new opportunity in their lives.

Being a leader during a time of crisis and instability is one of the greatest challenges a leader can face. We must ensure our own mental wellbeing, but also the wellbeing of our team and colleagues. By ensuring that they have a source of stability in their lives we can offer them a moment to breathe and gather themselves.

Podcast Timed Index

0:00 – Opening
2:45 – Fleeing Ukraine
22:35 – Perseverance
38:18 – Resilience and Innovation
1:03:57 – Research
1:33:34 – Conclusion

Get in touch with Anastasiya Lutsenko
Articles, Books or Publications by Anastasiya Lutsenko
More quotes from Anastasiya Lutsenko
•“I think, when I was with cancer, I learned that this is the task. So I'm not taking it really personally, because I'm into Buddhism, and it's all about observation. And that helps me to go through the process because I can't do much if I get stressed. So it doesn't make sense. This is the reality I have to manage. And I just need to address this. And that's helped me to go through the process and helps him to go through the process right now because radiation doesn't… once it's over… It doesn’t, I mean, the consequences are still there and I'm still coping with them. And but it's just the attitude. So with leadership it is the same and a famous quote is, “leadership is an action it is not an attitude.” We're not in a position. So I chose to act.” (39:02)

•“One of my latest research notes for the conference was about such a component as resilience that needs to be added as the sixth component of entrepreneurial orientation. Components are characteristic, because once your corrective, innovative risk taking personality, or your autonomous enough, etc. It's all about the first and the further stages of the organisation. But when we talk about resilience, it's actually that moment when you talk about leading change, because there is a turning point in every action when you either get this result, which is positive or negative.” (58:23)

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