No company on the face of the earth has ever gone without experiencing a glitch. Even giants like Apple have had their issues; did you know the first demo iPhone barely worked? If Apple can survive a glitch, so can your company.
Except dealing with a glitch and surviving it doesn’t feel possible in the moment, does it?
If you have a defective product or a problem in your supply chain, then the initial response is one of pure dejection. You’re the worst businessperson on the planet. How are you ever going to make a success of your endeavor if you can’t get something so fundamental right? What would your customers say if they found out?
So, there we have number one on the worst ways to react to a problem in your business: dejection. What are the others – so you can be confident of avoiding them the next time you have an issue crop up?
#2 – Anger
Anger can be useful, energizing, encouraging us to seek solutions. However, how you vent this anger is something to be very careful of. While all employees might occasionally need a talking to, no one respects a boss who shouts and screams at every small issue. Anger isn’t productive if you do that. Instead, take the energy that anger can give you and channel it into rectifying the problem, going through an RCA process to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
#3 – Dismissal
It’s possible to go too far in the opposite direction, of course. If your stock response to any issue that arises is to shrug you shoulders and say that these things happen, then that’s not a good sign. This signifies that you simply don’t seem to care as much as you should. You should be concerned about a product that’s gone wrong or the lost productivity you’ve identified… just not too much.
Balancing Your Responses
The above can seem contradictory. You shouldn’t react! But you also… shouldn’t… not react? It’s confusing.
The truth is, that reacting to a glitch is all about managing to walk a fine line. This is something that will get easier with time. You have to prioritize these responses:
- Solving the problem
- Ensuring it doesn’t happen again
- Not feeling so dejected it makes you question your business acumen.
- Not upsetting colleagues or staff (or just making yourself feel worse, if you work solo)
That’s easier said than done. If you care too much, that’s bad. If you don’t care enough, that’s arguably even worse.
The best way of managing to walk this tightrope is to give yourself time to respond. Don’t go charging into a problem the moment you learn about it, so keen to set the record straight that you’re not thinking clearly. Give yourself an hour or so to digest and get over your initial response, be it anger, dejection, or something in between. Only when you’re sure you have coped with the emotional reaction do you stand any chance of solving the issue.
Business owners aren’t robots; you’re going to have emotional responses to problems and concerns in your path. Learning to manage this is an important component of your business success.