Who doesn’t want to succeed? Duh. No one. And there are times when our backs are truly up against the wall, and we recognize that for the organization to exist, failure is not an option.

What do you do when you recognize that there really isn’t an alternative to getting it right?

  1. Ask “What will it take to guarantee success?” For now, ignore other intruding thoughts, like how people will feel or possible resistance. Also, while “guarantee” is a stretch goal and “high probability of success” is more accurate, it’s important to think expansively.
  2. Create several plans to yield that success including possible resources, options and vairables.
  3. Decide which is the best plan. If time permits, seek input from others who have a deep knowledge of the current situation and urgency.
  4. Finally, decide how to communicate the plan and engage others to maximize understanding and alignment.

When the situation is dire, be expansive and realistic. You must apply an equal amount of leadership and resources as there is challenge and complexity. It is an equation that you have to solve for.

Some possible moves when disaster looms include:

1. Simplify operations by moving or eliminating processes.
2. Upgrade leadership and/or talent by replacing, developing or outsourcing.
3. Think triage, a ruthless focus on criticality with limited resources that will create the greater good.
4. Not dealing with issues may seem to be “kind.” It is actually selfish because it is driven by ease and comfort, not by the right thing to do.
5. Have the courage to use your best judgment and take the chance you might be wrong. Often it is too late to wait for proof of the right thing to do.

When the situation is dire, you may not prevail. That does not mean you should not act. In the words of Atticus Finch, courage is “When you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

Been faced with extreme challenge and lived to tell the tale? Comment below or message us.


Photo by John Sekutowski on Unsplash