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Don’t Waste a Crisis. Here’s How.

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At some point in project delivery, either in your own project or when working for a client, you will experience a moment of “Oh $£!*, what now?!”.

While everyone else around you loses their heads, this is where you leap in to save the day. You need clarity of thought. You need confidence. You need:

1. Transparency

“Nothing sharpens the mind like a kick in the arse” Anonymous

Sometimes, no matter how many times you tell someone something is going to happen, they won’t listen. Something has to break first before they take notice.

Those people need to have a moment of terror-inducing clarity when all of the pieces fall into place. It really seems they need to experience the pain of something going wrong before they admit the need to do something different. You know what? Don’t stress. It’s at times like these you get to really examine the facts and come out on top. You must always look to the root cause and not just the symptom.

“We’re late!”, they scream, as they run around with their hair on fire and arms waving in the air (Hint: This is not helpful). Looking at the reasons behind why a task is late is what gets you closer to the truth of how to fix it. Being open and honest in your appraisal and sharing that in an objective way is absolutely what people need at this time.

Don’t get sucked into the nucleus of light and heat as they thrash around, moving chairs while the Titanic sinks. Maintain your composure, change perspective. Always ask “Why is this happening? What needs to happen to fix it? Who do I need to help me define the issue or fix?”.

2. Momentum

As it dawns on someone that there is something wrong and they start to look for answers, momentum builds. Possibly imperceptibly at first, but it starts and it grows. Usually exponentially.

Once you’ve got a good idea of the root causes of your issues, you should start to see the momentum skyrocket. People now start to focus on the “how and when” of fixing the issues. It is absolutely key to harness this momentum.  You can use it to your advantage to guide the creation of the plan to address root causes. You then seek commitment to making it happen.

Switching your thought process from thinking this runaway train is coming right at you to instead thinking how you jump aboard and ride it across the finish line is precisely how you need to proceed. Bringing other people with you as you go is what will win out in the end, for you and for your client.

3. Positive change

So, we’ve got issues, root causes, fixes identified and a plan to deliver them. Now what?

Structure your plan to deliver quick fixes first. What tinkering can be done to make change effective quickly? You can continue to harness momentum here by demonstrating wins. Everyone loves when things work. People are naturally fearful of change, but making positive incremental changes can have a massive beneficial impact. Not just for the immediate wins but as acting as agents for bigger and more fundamental changes too.

Where you can, have the end-game in sight for how your tactical changes will bring about or enable strategic change. Need to rectify some ad copy or a document quickly for client review? Great, make it happen. But also look at how you might either train up your VA or client, or change a process, to make the change sustainable. No point fixing it if you’re going to end up there again next time out, right?

New competitor started taking your leads? By all means, fire out some coupons or send some gifts to your treasured customers to keep them happy. Use this challenge as an opportunity to look at how your marketing process works. What is the team doing to stay ahead? Is complacency causing issues? Change your strategy or your tactics. Bring in fresh talent. You’ll have built the case for doing so.

A quick word on After Action Reviews or Lessons Learned. ALWAYS document what should have happened, what went wrong and what you need to do next time to make sure you won’t make the same mistake again. Keep your eye on the end game. They do say the person who has never made a mistake has never made anything – harness it to your advantage.

If you haven’t already, sign up to my email newsletter over there on the top right. Speak soon!



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