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Preparation is an investment, and it will be your best ally when problems arise in your business. Businesses will always have a human element, and because there is no such thing as a perfect human being, companies are guaranteed to encounter unforeseen problems.
The best way to solve these problems is not to be reagent after the problem takes root, but to be proactive preparing for these problems in advance. Here are some of the actions I’ve witnessed in my own business that not only helped keep things running smoothly when roadblocks arose, but also helped prevent problems altogether and ensure the success of our business.
Related: 5 Effective Ways to Prepare for the Unexpected
1. Pair Headlines with Enders
One of the unexpected difficulties as a business leader is being strategic in the way you formulate your teams. The chemistry of a team doesn’t just come down to backgrounds and personalities, but the effectiveness of a team is determined by the skills of the people paired. Some people are great to start with: they are always willing to step up and take on additional responsibilities. They are not afraid of an increased workload. However, due to their nature, they might have a hard time finishing projects or might be too spread out to keep going.
On the other hand, while the finalists won’t be the first to raise their hands to take on an extra workload, they excel at follow-up and follow-through. They are the people who are great at executing and making sure a project is completed before a deadline. Instead of punishing start-ups and finishers in areas that need improvement, an effective business leader will match up start-ups and finishers on a team. This takes time and observation to get to know your employees and how they work, but it’s the perfect recipe for avoiding problems down the road.
2. End meetings with an action item
Meetings are not effective if they do not have a solid structure to follow. We notice a lack of measurable progress in meetings in our own business. I realized we needed to be more intentional with these meetings, so we formulated a plan: cut meetings to 30 minutes max, assign one person to lead the meeting, and assign someone else to email summary after.
The biggest change we implemented? Each meeting had to end with an action item to make the business a little better. The action item needed a timeline and a designation as to who would be responsible for the action item. We didn’t restrict them on what the action item should be: the action item could make the business run more profitably, streamline a process, or fix a recurring problem.
That’s when we started to see noticeable improvement coming from these meetings, and it’s one of the most proactive measures we’ve taken to anticipate potential problems in the business.
Related: How to Prepare for an Unexpected, Unwanted, and Unwanted Business Mishap
3. Provide clear guidelines and benchmarks for your employees
Create a culture around winning. People feel good when they get things done, so it’s your job to make sure there’s a structure in place to get the job done. For each position you create, outline the responsibilities and guidelines that fall upon the employee, and set benchmarks that will help measure your employee’s achievement and growth. Make it clear what skills and requirements are needed to do the job in the job description, and make sure they have a solid understanding of this when they start the job.
Connect regularly with employees and provide feedback on how they are performing against the job requirements. You can use metrics like sales numbers, customer satisfaction, the scope or quality of a project’s completion, or how well they meet deadlines. Highlight their victories and emphasize what they are doing well.
People want to do things simply because it makes them feel good; Build a winning culture by setting reasonable expectations instead of repeatedly dumping tasks on your employees without clear guidelines.
4. Keep transparency and communication open with your team
The most important thing any business can do to prepare for unforeseen problems is to keep a clear line of communication open. Ask your employees, “what can I do better? How can I make your job easier?” Be open to criticism and willing to act on what they say.
Most likely, this will make your employees more willing to listen and accept your criticism. If you show them that you want to improve for their sake, they will do the same for you. The entire business will run better if everyone helps each other to strive to be the best they can be for the betterment of the business.
Consider asking your employees: Are they in a role they enjoy? Are they too thin to function? Being transparent in your communication will help take your business to the next level by simultaneously fixing existing problems and avoiding future problems.
Related: 4 Ways to Prepare Now for Your Business to Survive the Unexpected Later
Preparing for unforeseen problems is a critical aspect of running a successful business. No matter how well financed your business is and how comprehensive your systems and processes are, unexpected challenges willpower goes up.
Anticipate growth and potential problems by rethinking how you organize meetings, being intentional in the way you formulate teams, and providing clear guidelines and communication with your employees. If you have previously scaled for growth, you will confidently overcome these obstacles.