Handling the Unexpected

No one likes to deal with disruptions, but let’s face it, every leader has dealt with the consequences of unexpected interruptions. Sometimes the timing can be so disruptive that you feel paralyzed about how to move forward.

Good decision-making ability is a the key to having the least disruptions during such times. People sometimes overly complicate making decisions. When you approach the problem by first looking at the intended outcome, you create a path for a better result.

Let’s use the example of a key employee’s resignation when you least expect it. You’re thinking, “How am I going to replace Bob and train him in three weeks?”

Although this is where many people begin, the better starting point is to think about Bob’s role and how, if at all, you can use the personnel change to improve the outcomes. Maybe it would be best to take part of his responsibilities and move them to another person and redefine the job’s key accountabilities.

When you start with the right question, the rest of your decision process becomes more aligned. In fact, the strategic-planning tactic of working backwards from the anticipated result is a good method for these types of decisions, too.

+ Don’t think that you’re the smartest person in the room. Ask other stakeholders to brainstorm and weigh in with their opinions.

+ Be open minded to alternatives that aren’t obvious.

+ If you find yourself getting emotionally attached to a particular option, step back and consider how this choice is in the best interests of the company.

+ Set a reasonable timetable and maintain it so you don’t get stuck in any one phase.

+ If you start to wander and go off-topic, return to the intended result and stay focused. Make a note of the distraction and you can return to it later.

When you systematically face the consequences of business disruptions, you will get to the right solution more efficiently. Determine your ideal outcome, work backwards to plan the steps of how you’re going to get there, and stay focused for the duration.

Header image by Karolina Grabowska at Pexels.

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