We’ve all been there: You’re halfway down your street, heading to work or running an errand and you realize you’ve forgotten you phone, wallet, whatever…So, time for a U-Turn to head back home. While annoying, you know you need to make that course reversal to be able to accomplish your eventual task – You can’t buy groceries without a wallet!
These inevitable U-Turns happen in your business as well — An unexpected event or circumstance forces you to turn back, completely change course or re-think an entire approach. While these challenges sometimes may be out of your control, how you respond to them isn’t. Below are a few tips to help you navigate a new course when faced with a business U-Turn:
1. Realize There Are Multiple Paths – There isn’t just one way to get from A to B and the same is true in business. While the U-Turn may force you to abandon the path you are currently on, be open to the idea that it may reveal a new path more successful than the one you were initially anticipating.
2. Look Both Ways – As you make that turn, be sure to look for oncoming threats and issues from all sides, not just what is immediately ahead of you. For example, if you are making a U-Turn because of a new regulatory or policy change, look also at how that issue may affect others in your industry, your vendors and suppliers, etc. to try and anticipate challenges coming from multiple directions.
3. Identify New Opportunities – Have you ever had to deviate your original path or route only to discover a new hidden gem restaurant or favorite neighborhood? When your business faces a new path, be sure to look all around at what positives might come with the detour. If you are forced to relocate because of a lease issue or development project, make a point to get to know your new business neighbors and discover potential partnerships and alliances you may not have uncovered otherwise.
4. Reset Your Time Goals – Google Maps will tell you – if you have to deviate from the original course, you often have a new arrival time. Sometimes, the change is minimal, but sometimes the change may be significant. If you are facing a major U-Turn at work, allow yourself time to reset your timelines accordingly, without beating yourself up about it. Time can’t be rewound and if things will take you longer than initially anticipated, adjust and adapt to reduce overall stress.
5. Be Prepared for the New Path – Smart travelers are prepared for various eventualities on a road trip with things like a full tank of gas, extra water, food, etc. Set your business up for success by preparing for whatever the U-Turn will bring you by doing things like evaluating insurance needs and changes, pre-purchasing supplies or inventory or lining employees up for necessary training if appropriate.
6. Learn From the U-Turn – Do you now do a double check before leaving the house to ensure you have everything you might need? Whether the business U-Turn was within or outside your control, each offers opportunities for future learning. Once you have corrected course, take some time to evaluate the situation, what instigated the need for a U-Turn and how it could potentially be prevented in the future.