Let’s face it, if you’re alive and attempting to live your life – there will be times (perhaps many!) when things just don’t go as planned. It happens to the best of us (read: all of us, for those who are honest!)
This past week we had many ‘happenings’ that were unexpected (and therefore, not planned). Everything from a vendor not showing up to a client event to attempting to secure perks for prestigious clientele to a large, last-minute announcement which required media outreach and more phone calls than a telemarketing center. And there were occasional moments where we had to remind ourselves that we steer clear of crisis communications! There was just so.much.going.on! In the end, it all worked out – we had happy clients, great events and all was (and is) well.
So what do you do when things don’t go as planned? One of our clients e-mailed us and said:
I need to get pins made!
We agreed to settle on having pins and notebooks made, but in all seriousness, what do you do? Here are seven quick tips:
1) Do not panic. There’s value in the “keep calm” mantra because while gentle pressure may be motivating for some, all out anxiety and stress isn’t good for anyone.
2) Assess the situation. Quickly. Ask “what happened and where are we (with the situation)?” Whether it’s unfavorable media coverage or a vendor who doesn’t show up, quickly acknowledge the current situation, be able to explain (calmly) what has happened so that everyone is clear on the current issue at hand.
3) Shift your focus. Now that you understand what has happened, don’t focus on the problem. It’s time to get creative and focus on solutions. Unless you’ve got a clear cut solution, don’t shut down ideas that may rectify the problem. Effective problem-solving involves brainstorming and getting the wheels turning.
4) Do something. When we mention not to focus on the problem, this does not mean ignore the issue at hand. Doing this rarely makes it go away. During situations where you choose to ignore the problem, oftentimes you can end up with a bigger one. Being idle doesn’t fix a problem (unless doing nothing is the strategy, which it can be at times so it’s important to recognize the difference).
5) Research. Do as much research into your proposed solution as possible so you don’t end up with another problem (due to lack of research into your newly planned solution). Sometimes quick fixes don’t allow for much research but when given ample time, research is your friend!
6) Don’t take things personally. Sometimes things are out of anyone’s control and tensions can run high. (Ever been backstage at a fashion show? It’s not always a happy place.) The matter of politeness can go out the window sometimes. Recognize that, try not to take things personally so you can work effectively and work toward keeping your own emotions in check.
7) Know when (and how) to ask for help and how to accept assistance. When things don’t go as planned, sometimes you need assistance. There’s no reason to go through it alone – and not in the misery loves company type of way – but because there’s strength in numbers. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, whether it’s a task or more brains thinking on a solution. Also, when help is offered, know how to graciously accept. People are on the planet so that you don’t necessarily have to go it alone!
How do you handle situations that don’t go as planned? Any problem-solving tips to add?