I’m a pretty ambitious guy. In fact, Ambition is my highest core conviction on the WorkTraits compatibility system. I have always strived to better myself and my organization. I see the potential of what can be, and work diligently towards accomplishing my goals. It typically takes a lot to derail me and my team from achieving our mission.
This past month we had an unexpected flood in our office that forced us to evacuate the day after Christmas. The process of finding new office space in one day and getting our team operational in unfamiliar surroundings was challenging, but we got it done—even with technical hiccups. This temporary space was supposed to be for a two-week period, but then, there was a fire (yes, a fire) that delayed our move for another three weeks.
We soon discovered that during the office transition we hadn’t invoiced our clients, which in turn was going to impact our cash flow for January. We were determined to stay focused; we completed our 2013 plan and had begun implementing it. The week before we were scheduled to return to our office, a few of us got the flu and were out multiple days (I was even out for two and a half days and I can’t remember the last time I stayed home sick). The following week our office manager had emergency surgery and was out the entire 5 days—the very week we were scheduled to return to our offices, which she had entirely planned and organized. And lastly—yes, there’s more—the new employee we hired to lead our business development called to let us know her current employer made her a counter offer to stay that she couldn’t refuse—after we’d spent two months searching for the right candidate and she’d accepted a position with us.
Okay, this was our January. To say we welcomed 2013 with a “BANG” would be an understatement. But our team has pulled together under all the pressure of two moves in 30 days, illness, and operational chaos. It was all topped off the day before we moved back into our old “new” space when our new telephone company called to tell us their lines would be delayed a week, so we scrambled to make sure we were going to be operational in the meantime.
I believe the strength of a team shines through in a crisis. How do people respond with their attitude and willingness to jump in and help? What holes popped up in our systems that could have prevented some issues from impacting us? The list could go on… But at no point did anyone on the team lose their patience (well, maybe a little bit, but not to the point that it hindered us moving forward). We all realized that we just had to deal with the challenges as they occurred and work to resolve them.
I think “patience under pressure with focus on the potential of what could be” was our driving unspoken mantra. Overall we learned what vendors we could depend on and which ones we need to replace. We learned that we liked working in a more open environment, and redesigned our office space before we moved back. We realized we had the perfect candidate right in front of us to fill the vacated position—a much stronger individual who has a proven track record. Through these unexpected challenges we also recognized the weak links we have on our team in terms of people, skills, and processes.
But our team never lost their focus on meeting our goals throughout this process. Did we reach all of them in January? Well, no. But we did achieve about 80% of our goals, on top of the lessons we all learned during the infamous January 2013.
Business is always to going to present you with unexpected pressures and challenges. Keep your patience when dealing with these events and stay focused on being solution orientated and moving forward.
This is another article in a series on Michael’s entrepreneurial story and how being raised in a large family has influenced his career.