Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 2/7/16 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.
You can’t avoid it. In business or in life.
But you CAN learn how to embrace the unexpected, unpredictable, sure-to-happen events to enable significant growth.
You see, it’s how you respond to change that makes all the difference in whether your business will stagnate, regress or thrive.
Are you ready to play with the big guys and put some skin in the game? Here's how to grab ahold of challenges with a can-do attitude!
If the roller coaster that was 2020 taught us anything, it's that challenges will come, ready-or-not. (Thankfully, they're not always on the level of a global pandemic!)
Let 2020 serve as a stark reminder that you often won't know what's around the next bend, but you can overcome and even grow your business through the trials that you face – both big and small.
When problems do come up, don’t play the blame game. Ever.
To grow and succeed in business, blaming other people or systems won’t help. So don’t do it.
Sure, sometimes you really don’t have anything to do with the problem. How could you be responsible for a world-wide virus, for example? 🙄
BUT, you still have a responsibility to your clients.
They trust you. They’ve committed to working with you – and paying you.
You owe it to them to say "YES" to the problem. "Yes, we did experience difficulties, but we have found a way around it."
"Yes, your results are not on par with what we normally deliver, but here’s what we’re going to do for you: offer additional services free of charge in the months to come."
Essentially, seizing growth opportunities during challenging times means confessing the situation, but with confidence.
It means saying, "YES, things went downhill, but we have your back."
Challenges serve as excellent fuel for growth and improvement – if you have the right attitude and company culture.
Here are five steps you can implement to learn and grow from the difficulties you encounter:
Attitude plays a huge role in life’s successes, yet it's not something that's usually ever taught.
The good news is, not only you can learn to have a positive attitude, but you can learn how to have a YES attitude.
Things WILL happen in life that aren't in our control. (Again, 2020.)
But we can control how we think and react to the problem.
So, the next time difficulty arises, train your team to see an opportunity for improvement.
Teach them to say “No problem!” when they’re up against a rock. Train them to say, “I’m sure we can find a way to make it work.” Or "We're on it!"
Never fall into a pattern of saying “No” or “We can’t do that.”
Fix the problem, over-deliver, and delight your clients. Blow their socks off.
When something comes up – an issue with a client, a problem with software, or questions you don't know how to answer during the call – work on it.
Instead of a door-shutting, "NO," offer a solution in the moment or after you find the answer.
Gather with your team to brainstorm solutions, or meet with a CEO. If you don’t know, learn. Improve yourself, enhance your expertise and come back with a solution.
Follow these "YES steps" when dealing with clients:
Don’t make your clients feel disappointed, ignored or angry. Create the feeling that you have their back. Find out what the issue is, and create a solution that works.
Bottom line: Be the company you’d want to work with.
Creativity is usually mistaken for being artistic. That’s why many people say no to it.
But that’s not what creativity is about.
Being creative means approaching a situation or problem from another perspective. Very simply, it means being thoughtful, expressive, or imaginative.
Don't worry if you aren't born with it. You can train those creative muscles.
It’s not exactly thinking outside the box. It’s more like forgetting about the box altogether. Create synergy amongst your team and it will push your business through the roof.
When there's an issue, don’t try to trick your clients and prospects.
Reputation, integrity, and ethics are far more important than any amount of money – big or small – that you might lose if you come clean.
Talk to your client and explain what happened. Then, offer a solution.
Treat clients exactly how you would want to be treated by the companies in whom you put your trust.
Saying things are not going as planned is not easy, but it's the right thing. People respect that and will value you and your business more for it.
But what if they don’t?
Then, it may be time to evaluate if you should be working with them at all, as you do not share same core values. (Ever hear of Chihuahua client's? You should.)
Offering a solution and having a positive attitude are absolutely crucial to your success.
But it’s worth nothing if you don’t live up to your word.
Once you commit to doing something, follow through:
It’s up to you to keep the terms of service. Even if the source of the problem is outside of your realm of responsibility (Looking at you, COVID-19!), realize that it's YOU who is failing to provide the promised results.
You saved your relationship with the client because you took responsibility, your team thought creatively, you were honest with the client, and you provided a solution.
Don’t do unnecessary damage by not following through.
Avoid the effects of not fulfilling what you said you will do: Total damage. Loss of trust. The end of the relationship.