Innovative Strategies for Today's Needs and Tomorrow's Challenges

How do I recover when things do not go as planned?

Things aren’t working out the way you planned. The results, thus far, are less spectacular than projected. You suggested this solution. You even received a few pats on the back from senior management for your novel approach to problem solving. So you took the lead and assembled a team. Initially, things looked promising. There was a bit of resistance (crossed arms; sideways glances and under-the-breath comments from a few of your colleagues), but you had solid research on your side so success was anticipated. Yet, the outcome produced no fireworks! Just deflated air and lowered eyes at the mention of your project in follow-up team meetings.

How to recover when things don’t go as planned

Pre-emptive move: Review and make adjustments
To stave off the naysayers, be open and honest with progress from the start. Let people know what is working and what is not. Fear of failure lends itself to hiding and side stepping when things just aren’t working as anticipated.

Maintain visibility and effectiveness in all other areas of your responsibilities
It’s easy to barricade yourself in your office or evaporate behind technology. Maintain visibility and effectiveness when experiencing major changes to let your team know you are actively engaged and focused on not only finding a solution to this challenge, but also in other areas.

Include your team or expand your team to find new solutions and a turnaround strategy
American Industrialist Henry Ford said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Don’t waste time pointing fingers or blaming others. Enthusiastically engage your team in reexamining benchmark metrics and root causes, and to identify alternative approaches. Expand your team to add talent and differing perspective to the problem solving process.

Keep lines of communication open
Be a conduit of information to senior leadership and subordinates. Express your thoughts, feelings, and ideas in a clear, succinct, and compelling manner in both oral and written mediums. Adjust language to capture and maintain attention to critical issues when interest wanes. Sideline frustration by actively listening and understanding what others say throughout the process.

Recognize when to call in an outside expert
In an era of skin and bone staffing, many are called upon to become in-house “experts”. However the challenge may demand more professional and technical skills and experience. Present senior management with cost analysis of the project to highlight the benefit of utilizing outside consultants if needed.

Understand that it may take a while to rebuild confidence
Remember the oft-used phrase “You’re only as good as your last sale” or, the not oft-used but just as important, “They may not remember what they had for dinner, but they always remember the dessert”. Don’t let a disappointing outcome define you. Persistence and accountability is the key to overcoming a short fall and getting to the well-remembered dessert to gain confidence. Success is achieved by overcoming multiple attempts.

January 17th, 2014 Posted in Q & A |

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