When Things Go Wrong
Monday, 30 August 2021 11:01
When Things Go Wrong
I’ve had one of those weeks from hell! Everything I tried to do turned into a problem. I wanted to do the first quarterly bank reconciliation in the new accounting program and I could not balance the figures. I had to ring the accountant and ask for help. With time ticking on me doing a tax lodgement it was very stressful. But I got it done - it took a day and a half but it got done. I did the lodgement and breathed out. While doing the reconciliation I realised one of the customers had not paid their account. Out of character for this customer so I went to get the details only to find that the accounting program was experiencing ‘technical difficulties’. Another day went by but I finally got the information I needed to chase up the payment. I’m telling you all of this not to bore you with my accounting woes but to demonstrate that things go wrong in every business. Sometimes more than one thing. Sometimes it’s your fault and sometimes not but it’s your job to fix it.
It doesn't matter how organised you are or how professionally you run your business there are going to be times when things don't go as planned. It may be that you forget a vital payment, miss a deadline or something goes awry with a staff member. How things have been messed up is important to note so that you can look at whether you need to change your procedures to ensure the mistake is not repeated. But what's equally important is that you have a good procedure to deal with any problems.
We have a no blame policy for accidents so that if something happens staff will report it without fear of retribution. If anyone (managers or staff) break something, or forget something we encourage them to put their hand up so that we can quickly deal with it. Putting your hand up in a timely manner and offering a remedy is a much easier route than denying or trying to cover anything up. It also fosters a much more trusting relationship with your staff and customers.
Sometimes, it can feel like the problems are stacking up and it's can be hard to keep your chin up. All businesses who've been going for any length of time will have periods like this. We certainly have. Often it may be through no fault of your own. We've lost clients because their business was not going well, not because we were not doing a good job. Just remember that all things pass (just like a bad storm) and things will be brighter down the track. The other thing you have to take responsibility for is your attitude when dealing with problems. While my week has been stressful I have managed to sort out the problems and that leaves me feeling capable and competent.
Can you ensure that the problem is minimised or eliminated from now on? Have you offered a genuine apology for the problem? Do you have a solution to offer to your customer? Are staff aware of what to do so that the problem doesn't happen again? Taking the view that every cloud has a silver lining, it sometimes helps to see a problem as an opportunity to tighten up your systems and improve your company overall. And remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!