Be as resilient as a rubber BAND
B – BREATHE. As stressors appear, begin by stepping back (physically, mentally or both) and taking a deep breath. Just this action alone helps you to clear your head which allows better processing of information that is about to come at you. Breathing helps relax your muscles and lets your mind begin to work with the situation at hand. This is also the time to try to diffuse and remove emotions that might be present especially if you’re dealing with angry people. It’s hard to help a customer if they are still venting about their problem. Can you call on the help of others…even a neighbor or co-worker…to help you put things into perspective?
A – ASSESS. Now that you have a clearer head, and hopefully taken emotion from the equation, start to prioritize what steps to take to make a solution as close to a WIN-WIN as possible. Ask yourself “What’s the specific problem, who’s affected by these circumstances, what is the most critical piece to be handled first?” In this step, you are only identifying and prioritizing your steps, not acting on them. In the case of finding a customer design change request on your desk, you might assess that your No. 1 priority is to call the customer for more information, followed by determining if an engineer is available to draft the change.
N – NAVIGATE. You know the problem and have designed solution steps. Now it’s time to act on your plan. Look ahead and determine exactly what you want to have happen when a good solution is reached. What will the “perfect solution” look like? Implement your plan based on this desired outcome. As you execute each step, occasionally pause to look at what’s happening. Are you on the way to your desired outcome? Make whatever adjustments are needed along the way. Are you positively involving the people who need to be included in the solution? Doing this helps them feel you are working with them and not against them.
D – DETER. You did it! You dealt with your circumstances and came out on the other end. Whew, one down, more to come. This is the time to put steps in play that can deter the situation from happening again. What did you learn from this to help you set up parameters to avoid future issues like the one you just experienced? Step one: Think of a problem as a paper chain. Problem “links” can develop into hazardous situations. Identify the good and bad links (people, experiences, outside forces) in the chain. Sometimes removing a link can make the chain stronger when put back together. Step two: In order to prevent problems from happening again, you need to truthfully determine the level of control you have over each circumstance and problem factor. Eliminate or adjust what you have control over, and “let go” of those areas beyond your immediate control. Step three: Establish your safety net. Your safety net consists of your current contacts and any new ones you’ve built over the course of solving this problem. You learned things about yourself and those around you. Who stepped up when they were needed? Keep the information for those support personnel close at hand so it’s there when you need it…next time!