“Tolerance, compromise, understanding, acceptance, patience – I want those all to be very sharp tools in my shed.”
There are moments each day where we are all faced with situations that we wish we didn’t have to face. As a business owner, you are faced with business decisions based on something or some things that didn’t go according to plan such as irate customers, mistakes by employees, errors by suppliers, or constant interruptions.
Welcome to life. You are not unique in that you run smack dab into these situations. We all do at times and our response to these circumstances tells a lot about us and our character. Think about a time when you were working for someone and you made a mistake and you were worried about the response because of that mistake. We all remember the response, and whether the response was good or bad, it influenced us in some way.
We all remember our good bosses and our bad bosses. Bad bosses reacted to life’s situations by yelling, blaming, pointing fingers, and shutting down. They very seldom took responsibility for the situation or their response to it. Good bosses responded differently. They looked at the situation and logically tried to resolve the problem. Any blame or finger pointing was done after the fact and even then it was in order to learn from the mistake and not to berate someone.
The good bosses are the ones who believe that when circumstances arise and situations change and life throws a curve ball at them that well, it is what it is. Complaining about the situation will not change the situation. Blaming someone for the situation will not change the situation. Yelling and pointing fingers at someone will not change the situation. It is what it is so let’s figure out a way to resolve the problems and get on with our lives.
Everyone and anyone can logically respond this way when situations arise that are out of our control, but in many cases, we choose to act differently. It is, after all, our choice. We can react, or we can respond. We can let our emotions take over and react, which can make the situation worse by causing a delay in actually trying to resolve the situation. When we respond, we think more logically about what’s important given the situation. For example, there’s a fire in the waste paper basket. We may react by yelling fire and running from the building, or we could respond by logically thinking that picking up a fire extinguisher and attempting to put out the fire might be a better course of action.
Now granted, there are times in emergency situations when we react because the situation is life threatening, but in a work situation, the vast majority of decision moments are not life threatening or even business life threatening for the owner, CEO, or senior manager.
Our business life is full of it is what it is moments and we are in control of how we react or respond to these moments. We can’t control how others react, but we can control how we react or respond. We react by instinct, we respond by choice. When we become more aware of our initial reactions, we can learn to control them and respond more appropriately given the situation. Even though our brain may initially react to a situation as if it is life threatening and scary, the reality of it is that the vast majority of business situations are not life threatening or even that scary.
We can all learn to respond in a more positive way by first learning not to overreact as our initial reaction.
Second, define the problem. What are the causes? What harm is it doing? What are the ramifications of the problem?
Third, generate potential solutions. Identify all the ways the problem can be resolved? Brainstorm with your team and leave nothing off the table. The most out-of-the-box idea may be the resolution.
Fourth, identify the criteria that would have to be met by the most logical solutions. Will the solution resolve the root cause or put a Band-Aid on the problem? If it’s a Band-Aid, is that good enough for now?
Fifth, select the most logical solution. Which one or ones meets the criteria? Which one or ones can be implemented relatively easily?
Sixth, plan to implement the solution and implement it, being aware that once the solution is implemented it will need to be assessed to ensure that it is actually resolving the problem and may need to be improved somewhere down the road.
This is a positive response to an it is what it is problem.
However, first you have to become an it is what it is business owner, boss, manager, and/or supervisor. It is what it is accepts the situation for what it is. It’s here. It’s happened, now let’s deal with it. It is what it is doesn’t blame, point fingers, or yell. It is what it is resolves the problem or situation and then uses it as a learning moment to try to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
It’s your choice. You can react to business problems and issues or you can respond to problems and issues by realizing that whatever the problem, it is what it is, and respond accordingly.