It’s a fact: The way we respond to challenges is a key factor in our commercial success.
This is why I want to share a simple piece of advice with you, which may help you make better decisions AND avoid making mistakes when you are next faced with a challenge (particularly, a BIG challenge!)
I have coached, mentored, trained and worked with thousands of businesspeople and have found that often, it’s their response to a problem that seals their fate and NOT the original challenge or problem itself.
This is because they go into a mindset, which I call scrambling mode.
Scrambling mode is the term I use to describe the wild and often illogical actions, which many entrepreneurs and business owners take, when they are suddenly faced with a big challenge. Scrambling mode sees the person so desperate to do “something,” that they become more focused on movement than they do on progress. Rather than develop a properly thought out plan of action, they panic. This leads to poor decision making, which in turn creates more and more problems. So, they start off with one, often easy to resolve issue and end up with a stack of far more serious challenges.
A common example I have heard of many, many times, is what business owners do, when they unexpectedly see a worrying drop in sales. Faced with this situation, the logical thing to do is figure out what caused the drop in sales and either fix it or replace it with a more effective way to attract new business. However, I have personally witnessed business owners decide instantly, to take seriously damaging action!
In one case I know of, the business owner immediately dropped her prices by 15%, without realising that her existing customers would expect a similar deal. She eventually offered the 15% discount to everyone, unaware that she NOW needed to increase sales by over 40%, just to cover the cost of the 15% discount – never mind recovering the lost revenue! She was broke within 4 months.
In short: Scrambling mode sees intelligent people looking for answers in all the wrong places and creating unnecessary additional problems.
How to avoid getting into scrambling mode
To learn how to avoid the damage caused by entering into scrambling mode, we need only observe how people that respond effectively to sudden, unexpected problems act.
In my experience, there are 2 steps, which these people take:
- They take time to identify exactly what the challenge actually is. As soon as they know what’s wrong, they focus all their attention on getting the challenge solved. I wrote about this last week in this post, focus on answers, not problems. When we focus on answers, one of the by products is that we start to feel more in control, which lowers our stress and makes us more resourceful.
- They immediately seek qualified advice, so they make good decisions. Typically, they will have already identified knowledgeable people in each key area of their business. This means they know exactly who to speak with, when something goes wrong and don’t have to blindly go into the marketplace and find someone. This means a good time to build YOUR team of advisors is now; not when you are working against the clock!
I would be interested to know what your experiences are, when it comes to making decisions under pressure. Also, do you have any tips you would like to share? If you do, please leave a comment!
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Photo: Jim Linwood