Even with the most well planned projects, there is a good chance that Murphy’s Law will strike “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”. I refer to this phenomenon as “Life Happens” and unfortunately, life happens often.
The reality is that not all things are in our control, there are several internal and external factors that can impact even the most carefully planned initiatives. I can think of two business scenarios where things changed drastically, after they were planned. In the first instance, we developed a three-year strategy with a company only to find out that price of a relevant commodity dropped 70% creating funding challenges.
In another situation, due to management decisions in transitioning a company from a startup to profitability, key product developers left the company at the same time. The question is not; “Will life happen to me?”, but rather “how can I bring a problem solving attitude, when life happens to me?”
The leaders that demonstrate great skills of demonstrating “problem solving attitude” have these common traits:
1. Do not panic, or show panic. Stay calm and collected as if one was accepting “Life Happens”, and there is a plan in place to address it.
2. Take it upon yourself to analyze the situation, and come up with multiple scenarios for dealing with the situation
3. Perform “what if” scenarios by putting yourself in the shoes of all stakeholders to create winning propositions such that we can communicate options with full understanding with impact for each person
4. Reset expectations as to what is now realistic, and what is not while assessing “how can we potentially get back to original end state”
5. Do not blame management or any superior being. The only focus is current situation “we are where we are, and how do we move forward from here”