Handling Difficult Situations – The Importance Of Preparation

As a leader, you are going to face many challenges.

Periodically these challenges will fall into the category of what might best be described as difficult. For example, you might be leading a division, department or even organisation that is not performing. Some form of turnaround is required to get better results.

When faced with difficult situations, it is really tempting to jump into action and start doing things. The trouble is that if you leap straight into action, the chances are that, rather than making the situation better you might actually make the situation worse.

On the other hand, stepping back and spending some time on the preparation can really make a huge difference.

When we do our preparation really thoroughly, we do a number of things:

Get to the heart of the problem

How often have you seen a problem tackled with a quick fix solution that just creates even more problems? Being clear about the challenge is key to resolving it.

Get clear on what you want to achieve

It’s great to know where you are right now and you have to be clear about your start point. However, it is vital that you get clear about what you want to achieve too. Using our example of the turnaround in performance, what do you want once the turnaround is completed?

Really consider the options

Anyone can grab what is commonly known as the low hanging fruit. However, you don’t want to fall into the trap of believing that the low hanging fruit is the only choice or option. Making the time during your preparation to explore all of the options is key to getting the best possible options.

Acceptance that short term fixes rarely last long term

You have to do something, especially in times of crisis, but that in itself is not the long term answer. For example, if you are facing a financial crisis, short term you need to do things that get you through the initial problem. The solution for the longer term is however different.

The Bottom Line

While you want to get results as a leader, never underestimate the importance of preparation to delivering and achieving long term success.

Duncan Brodie helps accountants and business professionals become highly effective leaders and managers and achieve more career success. He invites you to sign up for his free courses here

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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