What To Do When Things Go Wrong

Let’s face facts, life is not a fairy tale, and occasionally things might not go according to plan.

Things ever go wrong for you?

Yeah, I thought so! Murphy’s Law wasn’t created for no reason, after all! The key seems to be how you react when things do go awry.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s just assume there are two ways things go wrong…

A. YOU cause the problem or error

B. The error or problem happens TO you

When the problem rests on YOU or your staff or team or associates, and YOU are responsible, what should you do?

First, it is always a good rule of thumb to mentally count to ten and not react immediately. Although first instincts are often right on the money, in cases like this, one might become defensive and that isn’t going to help resolve the problem.

Problems happen for a variety of reasons, and perhaps the problem wasn’t necessarily your FAULT per se, but you are being blamed.

It is best to take some time and evaluate the situation. If the person is right in front of you complaining, try just listening to them, REALLY listening. If you are not forced to take any action at the immediate moment, then, after getting all of the information you require take some time to process and come up with a good resolution.

Think about the following:

  • What will happen if I do nothing?
  • What will happen if I correct the problem?
  • What, if anything, will it cost me to correct the problem?
  • What, if anything, will it cost me if I don’t correct the problem?
  • How can this problem be avoided in the future?

Even if you are “right” or the problem wasn’t technically your “fault,” that doesn’t necessarily mean you have no responsibility in trying to correct things.

Try to do the above evaluation, and with some time and creative thinking, it might be possible to turn a bad situation into a great opportunity. Research shows that a person is more likely to continue doing business with someone who has positively fixed a problem for them than someone with whom there were never any problems to begin with!

I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but give it a try and see if you don’t just gain an even more loyal client, associate, friend, or family member just by creatively solving a problem that you might or might not have caused in the first place!

Next week, we’ll tackle B.

Paula Smith / / Office: 410.685.2679

You can also … connect with me on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter!

About the author

I am a third generation printer, and a second generation owner of Curry Printing. Ink (pms 185!) must run through my veins! As a "working owner," I am at Curry every day, working in and on my business. The old adage is true...if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life!

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