Seeking answers to everyday problems that arise in business or issues you have yet to face can be quite challenging. There are times when emotions may get the best of us and we rush to judgement, or worse still, rush to a decision. I have done this, and you have done this as well.
Stop the madness! First thing to understand is that when you operate properly and efficiently, it is very rare to have problems. Some companies run solely by putting out fires everyday. Companies that have figured out planning, training, a positive culture, and communication no longer put out fires. Try to get yourself here.
Are you making decisions based upon what you want versus what is right? If you find yourself making and carrying out decisions that you do not feel right about but it is what you want, you should give yourself pause and question your true intent. All to often, when you make a decisions based solely upon what you want versus what is right, you will regret it. There are ways to satisfy both what you want and what is right - most of the time. Unless you are a mad hatter, you will find solice in following these steps:
Once the problem is discovered, check your emotional state. If you are extremely happy, upset, or mad - give yourself time. A few hours after these emotions pass, you can attempt to make a better decision.
Assess the situation. What caused the problem in the first place? You may be quick to place blame on an individual, but take a process approach first. Is there a gap in the process that needs to be resolved? Is there futher training that needs to be conducted? Is there a lack of communication amongst individuals or departments. Once identified, you can make a plan to repair the process to ensure the problem is less likely to occur again in the future.
Assess the problem. This is where you will want to take note of all the key stakeholders in the problem. If it is a customer issue, you should think about the problem from the customer's perspective - not only yours. Does this problem affect marketing, social media, customer service, business development, or anything aspect of your business? Be careful with this one, because it typically has more than a singular affect.
Once you have identified the problem and have investigated it thoroughly, think from the customer's perpective of how they would want this resolved.
Now think of how you could exceed these expectations. Exceeding expectations would give the customer a "wow, they really value me" feeling. Exceeding expectations also has the potential to solidify and strengthen a relationship.
Write down what you want to do and what you feel is right by the customer. In time and with lots of practice, these two should align naturally. For now, if they are not aligned you will clearly see the descrepancy. Maybe you want to do it your way because it is less expensive or doesn't take as much time or you possibly don't value the customer. Think about these differences before moving on to the next step.
Write down the possbile future of these two decisions. If you go with what you want, will the predicted outcome (in the near and far future) be similar? Which future is best for your business and your mission?
Create a plan to carryout the decision and rectify the problem with the customer. I hope by the end of this you selected the approach that is the right thing to do, will exceed your customer's expectations, and will lead to a more prosperous future.
Although I utilized a customer problem for this story, it applies to any type of internal or external problem. The problem could be with software, hardware, vendors, employees, etc. By always doing the right thing, you will create a positive culture that people and business come to trust and value. You will reap far more than you ever expected and will feel good about yourself and the legacy you live each day.
If you are having trouble deciphering between what is right and what you want, talk to key stakeholders or mentors. The value of other people's opinions, even if they do not align with yours, is priceless.
It is never too late to start. Even if you have been making decisions based upon what you want and not what is right for a very long time, you can turn it around and make a huge difference immediately.
Doing what is right does not equal doing bad business. If a customer with a poor payment history needs to make a big order and carry a balance for 12 months, doing so would greatly harm your business. Be smart and discuss with your customer other ways that you can make this work. You may be surprised at what you end up with - that is both a good thing for the customer and for your business.
Giving all your employees new computers or cell phones when you cannot financially support the move, is not smart business. Instead, think of alternative ways to accomplish your goal or make a plan towards this action.
Doing what you want versus what is right can have severe outcomes.
If you are the type of manager that cuts employee benefits to save money and then goes out and buys a new company sports car, you are doing what you want - not what is right. This will have a negative effect on your business for the long term. Doing what is right supports your longevity, your mission, and your soul.
Sometimes, finding the middle ground solves no one's problems. If people do not leave the table feeling like they have won, no one has won and nothing has been resolved. Always try to get the best outcome for all involved.
At the end of the day, your business is a reflection of you. If you have a healthy and prosperous company that values integrity, it will show and reflect those same characteristics about you. Companies and people want to do business with someone they can trust - will that be you?
April Salsbury, MBA is a strategist, an analyst, an operational guru, a recognized leader and C-suite global healthcare executive with drive and focus for competitive markets. Co-host of The Business Forum Show and regular contributor to various business journals, she possess multi-functional and multi-national competencies with more than 15 years experience in business and healthcare. Her expertise is in invigorating revenue growth and infusing value of lean practices in growing companies through improvements to cash flow and operations management.
Fueling revenue, growth and profit, Salsbury & Co. is a consultancy firm focused on helping businesses and healthcare organizations achieve excellency. Our specialists have executive experience combined with deep functional expertise to provide our clients with services that drive real impact and results.
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