One constant in business is problems. There are two kinds of problems, the predictable and the unpredictable. Unpredictable problems are events such as earthquakes, illnesses, death, storms, and the like. Yet, even considering some of these, we all know that we have the possibility of becoming ill or running into weather that can change our plans especially if we are traveling and this is particularly true if we are traveling at certain times of the year. Having disaster plans in place can at least alleviate some of the consequences of major, unpredictable disasters. So how can businesses better anticipate other problems in order to be proactive in either preventing them or solving them more quickly and efficiently when they do occur? Here are some ideas to consider.
Studying trends in marketing, sales, economics, and the like helps leadership to create plans that include changes. Therefore, when these changes begin to occur, the organization is better able to adapt, stay on track and prevent the main problem from becoming worse and additional problems from developing.
Planning should include the changes in trends and your plan serves as a guide to let you know when deviations are occurring. When either the plan is falling apart or people and processes are not following the plan, you might consider this as an early warning device. This allows leadership to make adjustments quickly and prevent any disasters that might be looming down the road. Without planning, disaster will be a predictable business element.
Communication must occur on a regular and consistent basis. Weekly meetings between managers and subordinates will help anticipate problems and allow everyone to be proactive. Therefore, it is important for every manager to create rapport, listen, understand, and provide direction. The three must ask questions at each meeting are:
- What did you accomplish last week that made you proud?
- What would you like to learn next week that will make you better at your job?
- How can I help?
Don’t neglect speaking with customers as well. Conducting surveys, holding town hall meetings, or inviting one-on-one interviews can help prevent untold customer service horror stories and customers turning to your competitors for their needs.
In order for every team member to be better at anticipating problems training is essential. Programs that can help are…
- Decision making
- Problem solving
- Critical thinking
- Understanding behaviors
Having a system set up for anticipating problems can save resources, energy, and your bottom line. While establishing such a system takes time, I predict it will prevent problems and be well worth the time and effort.
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