What to do When Things go Wrong?

  • So why is it important for us to stay positive?
  • What would be your reaction if your boss came in and was in a panic and talking about the sky falling in?
  • What about if your boss came in and advised we had a problem and is looking for a team approach to possible solutions?

I am not referring to being overly optimistic and ignoring the down side risks of any activities. People that go around and ignore problems or downside risk are eventually going to fall on their face. Being positive is about being realistic, not just hoping, and looking for solutions. So the first step to maintain a positive attitude is to be realistic, look at the problem, what is the downside risk with the activity?

When you have acknowledged the problem then review what can be done to solve the problem. Take a solution seeking approach. Brainstorm the problem, no idea is too crazy to start with. When looking at the downside risk, we use the same process. Look at what can be put in place to reduce the likelihood of the event occurring or reduce the impact if the event occurs. Also what contingencies can be put in place, just in case.

Now that you have a list of possible solutions, or even half solutions at this point, prioritise the list. Prioritise the solutions and contingencies based on best impact and also the ease of implementations. With considerations for the impact of the solution and also the ease of implementation you will be able to develop Plan A. The bonus is that you will have a Plan B and C from the other ideas that you are not going to implement.

The brainstorming and development of ideas, along with the prioritised solution is now ready for implementation. Hopefully you have involved a team of effected stakeholders in the process which will ensure that the implementation of the solution should be easier.

In summary do try and maintain a positive outlook when things go wrong. Remember people would rather have their leader deal with problems from a structured approach than go into a downward panic cycle. Steps for when things go wrong:

  • Be realistic, acknowledge the problem or the downside risk with the activity
  • Develop Solutions to the Problem and Contingencies for the Downside risk.
  • Prioritise the solutions / Contingencies, forming Plan A, B etc
  • Implement the plan

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