How to Bounce Back Stronger When Things Go Wrong
I recently read about a technical glitch that brought a national retailer’s operation to a halt. There could be a multitude of reasons why that incident occurred. It wasn’t the first time it had happened and I’m not sure it will be the last. Let’s be honest, we’ve all had our ‘bad patch days’ – however they tend not to be as public. I’ve managed my fair share of crises. Here is my advice on what to do when things go wrong and how to bounce back stronger than before!
Responding in crisis
How you respond in the moment is critical. Remaining calm, working as a team, providing clear direction and strong leadership are all important. In my experience, the issue does get resolved and you do get through it. Creating an environment that minimises stress and blame allows the team to come together in the aftermath to openly share what went wrong and what can be done differently next time.
Making time to reflect
I think taking the time to understand the root cause of what happened is important. This provides the opportunity to put appropriate measures in place to prevent the issue from reoccurring. In addition to “What went wrong?” I’ve found it useful to ask, “What can we do instead?”. This opens the conversation up for innovative and positive contribution. This does not mean I shy away from being clear on the impacts of serious blunders or encourage mistakes. Rather, I believe it’s important to adopt a growth mindset: acknowledge that mistakes can happen and focus on what can be learnt from the experience. Provided serious misconduct, negligence or toxic behaviour is not the cause – which obviously requires a different approach. I also take time to highlight what the team did well in responding to the issue and acknowledge the good job they do day to day. In my experience, an engaged team is much better at adopting and implementing any required changes.
When things go wrong, I also see it as an opportunity to reassess my resources. Are the right people in the right roles? Is their role structured appropriately to enable them to be successful? Are we appropriately resourced or do we need more staff? Are there any knowledge gaps? Is training required? This all enables me to ensure the right support is being provided to the team and minimise issues arising in the future.
Sharing your learnings
I believe it’s empowering for the team to own their mistakes. Sharing their experiences cements the insights gained, and it reinforces our culture of learning and having a growth mindset. It changes the narrative from “the team that stuffed up” to “the team that successfully navigated a crisis with lots of learnings to share”. It also reframes a negative experience as an opportunity to grow and help others.
Challenges and crises can test our individual resilience and business resilience. However, they also provide the opportunity for post-traumatic growth – the ability to not just get through a challenge, but to learn and grow from that experience.
If you’d like to talk further about any of the topics outlined above, please feel free to email me or call me directly on 0407 860 925. For permanent, contract or project hiring needs, please reach out to me or your Clicks Account Manager, or contact us on 1300 CLICKS.
Regional General Manager, VIC and ACT