Thinking Differently When Faced With Challenge

Without a doubt we are in a time when the whole world has been turned upside down.

In times of challenge fear kicks in.  In many ways this shouldn’t be a major surprise.

The trouble with fear is that can result in us all getting further and further into that downward spiral.

When we are in the downward spiral it’s really ease to become stuck.

It’s also really difficult to move forward.  The feeling of being stuck is like a roadblock in our mind.

The challenge for everyone is to get into a positive frame of mind so that you can move forward.

Thinking differently when faced with challenge is key.

So how can you get out of the thinking trap and into the more creative place?

Acceptance of the situation

There will always be events in life.  Most will pass without having much impact.  Others like the current pandemic COVID-19 have a massive impact.

Of course there are things that you can do to try to contribute to minimising the impact.

But before you can do that there has to be acceptance of the situation.

Take stock and understand what you are dealing with

Faced with significant challenge, we all know that there will be an impact.

Rather than getting carried away with the generalisations, take stock and ask yourself what it means for you personally.

A lot of my work is delivering face to face workshops.  With the restrictions on movements across the globe and the call to stay at home workshops are being rescheduled or in the case of conferences.

It means in the short term at least that my cash coming in to the business is going to drop significantly.

By getting a clear picture I know what I’m dealing with.

Undertaking modelling of different scenarios (what if analysis) is also useful.

Start brainstorming options

If you have been doing something for a long time it’s sometimes difficult to imagine it being different.

A brainstorm involves writing down all of the possible things that you could do.

When you are brainstorming you want to avoid evaluating.  You simply want to get your ideas down on paper.

For every business the options are going to be different.  Already we are seeing businesses look at different ways of dealing with the situation:

For example:

  • Restaurants doing takeaways with delivery only
  • Hotels making their rooms available to key workers or in some cases the homeless
  • Musicians using streaming to do concerts from home when they can’t do live gigs
  • Gin makers producing hand sanitisers
  • Trainers training people remotely

Evaluate options

In normal circumstances you might be thinking medium term.  In challenging times it might be a case of focusing on quick wins.

These are options that are easy to implement and give a fairly quick return.

Implement quickly and refine

You might want things to be perfect under normal circumstances.  In times of real challenge what you are aiming for is what I call ‘fit for purpose’.

Something that’s good enough.

You can always make small changes as you go.

Measure more frequently

Traditional reporting and performance measurement are likely to be of much less benefit in times of major challenge.

Frequent flash reporting is going to be much more valuable and allow much faster response.

Encourage leadership at every level

No one person or group can deal with everything.  What’s needed is leadership at all levels.

Encourage people to come up with ideas.  Sometimes simple process changes can often make a big difference.

Challenges are always going to exist.  When faced with really significant challenge, the quality of your thinking plays a major part in navigating your way through the challenges.