"Do not judge, and you will never be mistaken." -- Jean Jacques Rousseau
There are times for all of us when all of the bad things seem to happen at once—the planets all align—against us it seems—and lead to a full-on meltdown that drives us into a panic. Business results are bad or we lose several customers in a few days. Several employees suddenly decide to leave. We just get a stream of bad news. What should we do? Here are a few thoughts on how to handle things when this happens.
Circle the wagons. Call a team meeting and just share your feelings and perspectives on what is going on. Just talking about it helps. Keeping it bottled up by "keeping your nose to the grindstone" will work against you. Open up and share.
Retreat to the core and prioritize. Decide what is truly important to get done and what can wait. Constant prioritization is a basic business skill but it's really important when things get tough.
Decide what you can learn from the situation. There are lessons in EVERYTHING that happens. Decide what those are and apply the learnings to your business.
Maintain your perspective. Realize that it's not the end of the world. Things happen for a reason and you'll get through it. I love the following Zen story as an illustration of how to keep my perspective with everything that happens in business and in life.
A farmer had a horse but one day, the horse ran away and so the farmer and his son had to plow their fields themselves. Their neighbors said, "Oh, what bad luck that your horse ran away!" But the farmer replied, "Bad luck, good luck, who knows?" The next week, the horse returned to the farm, bringing a herd of wild horses with him. "What wonderful luck!" cried the neighbors, but the farmer responded, "Good luck, bad luck, who knows?" Then, the farmer's son was thrown as he tried to ride one of the wild horses, and he broke his leg. "Ah, such bad luck," sympathized the neighbors. Once again, the farmer responded, "Bad luck, good luck, who knows?" A short time later, the ruler of the country recruited all young men to join his army for battle. The son, with his broken leg, was left at home. "What good luck that your son was not forced into battle!" celebrated the neighbors. And the farmer remarked, "Good luck, bad luck, who knows?"