Posted on March 1, 2014

Rearranging the Deck Chairs on the Titanic

We all have experienced bad days and events. Losing a customer, a vendor price increase, discontinuation of a raw material, an increase in healthcare, an unhappy customer, losing a bid based on price, defective product, a great employee leaving, losing money on a project, shipping a wrong product to the wrong place, the list could go on and on. These things happen regularly and our job as leaders is not to wallow in our catastrophes but problem solve and facilitate the team reaching a solution. That’s every day. Some days or weeks we have a whole bunch of these things happen and even the most resilient person starts to feel like they are on a sinking ship, just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. What’s a leader to do?

First, take a step back. That’s our job- to look at the big picture. Take a look at history. It’s not likely this is the biggest thing we’ve ever faced. Next take a look ahead. In five years, most of these problems will be remembered with a little nostalgia.

Second, we need to adjust our attitude. We can’t lead authentically if we are just pretending we think everything is going to be ok. We need to totally believe it. Take some deep breaths, meditate, get calm. We can’t lead well if we are in a tizzy.

Third, do what we do best. Go confidently into the world, lead our team in generating solutions and action plans, knowing “In the end, everything will be ok. If it isn’t ok, it isn’t the end.”