The Secret to Avoiding Disaster in Your Workday

by Jenny Kriha

I know I’m not alone in my disbelief at how quickly Q1 of the New Year is flying by! It seems that time is the universal topic of the office chats these days. We all talk about time – how fast it passes, how much we have (or don’t have), how easily it got away from us. In light of our obsession with the clock, let’s talk about what happens when disaster strikes, or even better, the time we spend avoiding “disaster.”

We’ve all been there – from slamming on your brakes in traffic, to almost missing a VIP client meeting, or narrowly avoiding a major Starbuck’s spill all over your desk.

What actually keeps us from falling into disaster (and spending the rest of our precious workday cleaning up the mess)?  Is it simply quick thinking? Perhaps stalling with excuses? Or maybe the reflexes of a world class athlete? When you’re clearly headed for a crisis of epic proportions, what changes your course? My answer – open and timely conversations.

Recently, on just a “business-as-usual” day, a customer came to me and unexpectedly asked if they could end their contract. Before allowing myself to slip into disaster mode, we decided to meet face-to-face. We had a completely open conversation in which we laid all our cards on the table and truly dissected into the problem. In the end, we came up with a win-win solution.

Had we not taken the time to talk everything out, the situation could have gone much differently. Because both of us had the courage to communicate honestly, it was surprisingly easy to come to an amicable agreement with a positive outcome for everyone.

Your daily work is a partnership; a relationship between individuals or groups that is characterized by mutual cooperation and responsibility for the achievement of a specified goal. By taking the time to talk out the outcomes (and possible delays) of major initiatives, you set yourself up to use your time wisely. Trust me, when you’re well-prepared it takes a lot more than a little coffee spill to derail your day.

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Photo Credit: © Can Stock Photo Inc. / CITAlliance

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