Every business hits this wall at some time.
Whether your just starting out, ALMOST to profitability, have a “going concern” or are well-established, sooner or later something either organic (like growth of your customer base) or externally realized (your top salesperson and top delivery person get married and move out of the state), “Now What?!” happens to you.
How do you respond?
“Frantic” is the default for a lot of us. Frantic tends to lead to behaviors we’ve used before to one degree of success or another, or at least it FEELS right! In the heat of a crisis, the tendency is to rely on instinct, what many have called the “reptile brain“, whether out of fear or out of a well-established habit. Sometimes this works. Certainly, if you have well-established policies and procedures, and they cover most of the things you run across, you may recover without missing a beat.
“Stunned” is another reaction. This Something that takes place catches you so off-guard that you have no reaction because you have nothing else in your experience with which to compare it. Sometimes, after an unspecified time at “Stunned“, you move to “Frantic“. This is generally not a good place to go. Since what brought on “Stunned” was outside your experience, chances are good that it doesn’t fall into any existing policy or procedure. Now you start doing some interesting things cognitively….
One of these is to transform a difficult situation into a different one that is easier for you to deal with cognitively. One of the best examples I know is the recruitment process for new employees. It is actually impossible to forecast exactly how effective and successful any applicant will be in the position you are recruiting for, let alone how they will “fit” into your organization. So most companies have come up with a set of questions, tests and assessments used to size up aspects of the applicant, despite this inability to actually see the future. The interview process is not much like the actual work environment in most companies, yet the actual hiring completely pivots on this “easier” set of questions and answers. It doesn’t answer the initial challenge, but we tell ourselves that it does. If you’re very fortunate, the company will get a good employee. However, this is in no way guaranteed, and results are pretty widely varied to call it reliably successful.
“Thoughtfully” is a better way to confront the “Now What?!” Even if you end up going with the existing policies and procedures, you can be intentional about it, having made that choice with less “reptile brain” and more humanity.
Humanity is what you’re going for.