Can you remember a time when…?
Something had ended, but the next thing hadn’t begun. You were outside the safe space of something familiar and you weren’t sure what was going to happen next.
You were at a watershed moment. A lot depended on your decision. Things would be very different after. The situation mattered to you. Emotional content was high. Your response was a critical success factor. You knew you needed to take action, and small differences in your response could make a big difference in the outcome.
Too much was happening too fast. Too much information was coming at you. You were exhausted mentally and physically. You knew you needed to make decisions and take action quickly, but you were not confident of success. You were feeling frustrated and feared that the frustration would grow exponentially.
We’ve all experienced these variables at Dangerous Intersections in our lives. They can threaten not only quality of life but also life, itself.
People in between are in a dangerous space. They may mimic the dysfunctional behavior of others. That dysfunction may polarize people who would otherwise have helped each other to opposing camps. Disoriented and further isolated by the polarity, they may seek and follow an apparent Rescuer who is likely to be the Trickster in disguise.
People in crisis are in a dangerous place. They may panic, ignore the danger signals right in front of them, or delay their response. They may seek comfort-gathering prized possessions, for example—instead of moving to safety.
People in overload are in a dangerous place. They may be blind to risks. They may be distracted by insignificant clutter around them. They may focus on the wrong things.
This July, at Fielding Graduate University’s All-Schools Summer Session in Rosemont, IL, alumni Dr. Gregory Woo, Julie Fotheringham, and School of Leadership Studies faculty member Dr. Ruth Middleton-House, will present their research on what happens when three high-risk conditions collide. Their over-arching message is two-fold. First, people have the power to change the rhythms in their lives to minimize the risk and the impact of Dangerous Intersections. Second, there is hope. Even when we cannot avoid what they identify as the “dangerous intersection,” people can take action to navigate through it constructively, grow as a result of it, and—in some cases—be transformed by it.
Dangerous intersections impact people from all parts of the world and all walks of life both professionally and personally. Targeted research in some applications–aviation, for example—is extensive. However, it is not integrated across disciplines; it is not framed for easy application to everyday life, and it is not widely accessible to people outside of the targeted areas.
You are the one person you can be sure will be at the scene of your dangerous intersection. You and the people around you are ahead of the police officers, the rescue dogs, the EMT’s and the psychologists. We want to help you, your clients, and your loved ones be skilled First Responders to the dangerous intersections in everyday life.– Woo, Fotheringham, Middleton House
Dr. Woo, Julie Fotheringham, and Dr. Middleton House are integrating the existing research, along with their own research, to frame and apply their findings for practical application and to leverage their findings to support their colleagues, clients, and friends. This research will be shared at an Alumni Track Session at the Westin O’Hare hotel on Thursday, July 19, from 1:00 -3:30 p.m.
Article by Ruth Middleton House, EdD
About the presenters:
Gregory Woo, PhD., PMP, is Systems Engineering Division Chief at the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Volpe Center. He is also an active instructor pilot; and he knows first-hand the risks and the strategies for mitigating those risks, when changing conditions in flight put a pilot in-between, in crisis and in overload. Greg wants to be sure he navigates the multiple demands of his Dangerous Intersections and remains fully present for those who matter to him at the same time.
Julie A. Fotheringham, MA, ACC, is an experienced and respected ICF international Certified Coach and Partner at Hageman: Executive Coaching-Training-Events, Canada. She specializes in coaching executives who are in transition because of layoffs, mergers and acquisitions, and other changing conditions.
Ruth Middleton House, EdD, is on the Core Faculty of Organizational Development and Leadership at Fielding and President of Middleton-House & Company. Ruth specializes in troubleshooting high risk, high-conflict, high-visibility projects. She has written several books, including The Human Side of Project Management, and is a frequent contributor to The Georgia Engineer. Ruth’s interest in Dangerous Intersections climaxed with a near-miss automobile accident that took her by surprise during a period of high stress and personal loss.