You did not hit the target for the month. The presentation with the executives did not go as smoothly as planned. You have to improve your recruitment strategy; number of clients called in to complain about the harsh behavior of your employees. Your most trusted staff filed for resignation. A new multinational and Philippine-based business partner backed out from the agreement. Your printer is jammed and you need to have hardcopy of the files immediately or else!
Whew, what a day!
Things like these do happen; well, at least not every day and not to everyone. But perhaps something went wrong unknowingly on your part that triggered those series of events which ultimately got out of hand. Mind you, these things don’t develop overnight, to be sure. Root causes of such major mishaps have a way of germinating and taking a protracted gestation period. Problems have a way of growing or building up. Admit it though -- you must have been too pre-occupied with less urgent issues not to have caught the signs early enough and therefore did not do a thing to nip any of them in the bud, so to speak. Anyway, now that those things have gone south the way they did, what are you going to do next?
Are you just going to agonize in complete surrender? Spend weeks distraught, disheartened, hopeless and helpless?
Hold it -- it’s not the end of the world; it can’t be, or it shouldn’t be. At the very least, you should muster enough courage, step back, and try the following:
1. Be in control. Don’t escape the problem or blame anyone because of what happened. Don’t run away and simply wish for things to get better instantly, although that sounds like the easy way out. This is the time you will need to be cool, be deliberate and be in control of yourself. For a start, you need a recovery strategy, sort of. Analyze your whole life’s activities. Distinguish between what’s important from what is urgent.
2. Consult, seek counsels. Because you are too close to your problems (like not being able to see the specks under both your eyes), eat the “humble pie” and consult a friend, one you trust. Have him or her give you a perspective of where you might be missing out on the important things requiring your attention.
3. Be objective. Time to go rational and systematic in the way you are going to address your urgent issues at hand. But more importantly, take the mindset that from now on, you are going to be alert in spotting symptoms of potential problem before they develop into real ones.
4. Restore your optimism. Moving forward, take heart and this time stay focused. Remember, things don’t go wrong by themselves. There are always a variety of factors in play, most of which are controllable and can be or should be addressed early enough. Take note: problems are not born, they are made. And, like water, they seek their own level. Where there are gaps, problems creep in and gradually overtake.
5. Learn from Past Mistakes or Omissions. This is the key – do not fall in the same trap as before, i.e., that of probably underestimating the grave impact of missed meetings, underserved clients, flawed presentations, faulty or insensitive communication with a business partner, and yes, neglected staff. Which finally leads me to offer you a sure-proof reminder, i.e., that of the famous Murphy’s Law: “If things can go wrong, it will.”
But hey, we are not Masters of the Universe for nothing. We can and will make things right!
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