05 Jul 3 business scenarios on unexpected change and 7 advise on how to deal with them
On learning to deal with major unexpected changes
Scenario 1: You have been working for four months on a major marketing campaign. You believed that the deadline was a week away, when suddenly your manager calls you to let you know that you have to present to the client in twelve hours. It turns out that your competitor has already made a pitch for a similar campaign to your client, adding enough extras to hopefully direct them away from your company. If you don’t act within 24 hours, you believe that the client with take your competitor’s offer. You still have a week’s worth of work to do, and now you have to prove to the client that your campaign can do everything that your competitor’s can and more. You have no idea how you will have everything ready to present so soon.
Scenario 2: You have been planning a major formal event for your company and partners in order to celebrate an important strategic success. You will have over 200 guests and many people are flying in from around the world. Three days before the event, you receive a notice that your event organizer has gone out of business. The invites for the night have already been sent out, so you now realize that you have three days to put together an entirely new event.
Scenario 3: You’ve been working on a business plan and a pitch for about ten months now. Your biggest potential investor is headquartered in another country and you are set to fly and present to them in one month. Suddenly, you get a call from one of your partners telling you that the investor’s assistant has requested you to reschedule to the next morning, since they are in your country and have an unexpected gap in their calendar. If you say no to this, they may not agree to meet with you in a month. This means that you now have one night to make your business plan polished enough to get your investor’s attention and a chance for funding.
When circumstances take a sharp, unexpected turn, what can we do?
1. First of all, don’t panic. If you put as much effort as you can into finding a solution, then even if it doesn’t work out perfectly you know that you did everything that you could, considering the new circumstances. Think honestly about the big picture and the best-case scenario. Don’t waste time worrying about the worst-case scenario; instead, focus on the process you will need to follow in order to succeed.
2. Consider the most important steps to complete before your deadline. Focusing on just the essential tasks to reach your goal will keep you from feeling overloaded and stressed. Prioritize your tasks using your vision and goal as guidelines, ensuring that the most essential parts of the project get done first.
3. Focus on the big picture. If you don’t have time to do all the small details that you would like to have done, don’t worry about it. Your new circumstances have forced you to adapt and, in the long run, it’s the big components of your project that really matter.
4. Ask for feedback and input from others. Seeking advice from others about how you should proceed may make you feel more secure in your decisions and in control. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help with your new situation and the things you need to get done. Sometimes you need support, and acknowledging that might help you to regain momentum in the project.
5. Set small achievable goals for yourself. Creating a checklist of the smaller goals that you need to complete before you reach the final goal will help you see everything that you need to do and get in control of the situation. It’s also important that you see that you are making progress and keep motivated.
6. Put yourself in an environment that fosters your flow. Make sure that you have all the practical things you need around you and that you are located somewhere that helps you to stay inspired, focus and motivated.
7. Create a reward for yourself to focus on. New deadlines and circumstances may force you to work harder, longer and under more pressure than you normally would be in a shorter amount of time. In order to keep from burning out, try to focus on rewarding yourself at the end of the project. It may help to provide yourself with some other kind of motivation besides simply completing the project.
The world is a constantly changing and dynamic place, and sometimes our situations alter dramatically with little warning. Change is a normal part of business, and it’s important to learn to deal with it effectively and rapidly in order to succeed.