Hints & Tips Blog

Top tips for managing a myriad of challenges

Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed an increase in the number of senior people in SMEs asking for mentoring support and advice relating to dealing with new challenges to their business. They specifically ask for help in overcoming what could be described as ‘scenario overload’ or ‘potential problem paralysis’.

Given the challenges we’re facing today, and on the back of the last two years, it’s perhaps not surprising that resilience has been gradually but relentlessly eroded over time. But it is worth reflecting on how you successfully navigated this period. In the first months of the pandemic, businesses were forced to react at speed, make decisions quickly, think the unthinkable and embrace new approaches and methods of working and communicating. The fact we have been through this period has perhaps made us more conscious of just how many things are outside of our control in our day-to-day business environment, and it’s difficult to ignore.

As new challenges, problems or even opportunities arise, even if they are in reality far easier to deal with than many of the hurdles we’ve recently overcome, some are finding it difficult to find clarity on the right path to take. Our newly minted ‘hyper-awareness’ of just how seriously wrong things can go, can act as a blocker to making definitive decisions and taking action. Instead driving a tendency to relentlessly work through every conceivable scenario, overthinking every possible angle and ultimately causing a paralysis of progress.

While scenario planning and risk mitigation are prudent business approaches, taken to extreme they can be more damaging than productive. So, here’s four steps to take to help you reboot;

Focus on the actual problem

Rewind from your myriad of ‘possible outcomes’ to refocus on the root cause, trigger or initial problem you need to fix. Break it down to its component parts and create a sense of perspective and scale. How much impact is this problem likely to have in the business overall, even if you don’t get the solution 100% right – compared to say dealing with coronavirus, which you handled given you’re still here right? Through this lens things will feel more manageable and enable you to assess challenges with more objectivity.

Assess the true danger

With your perspective now realigned, look at the most likely problems the situation will create and how serious they will be? Identifying the real dangers, not looking at every possible downside, however unlikely, will allow you to focus more effectively on a solution that will work, rather than chasing the elusive ‘perfect’ solution.

Identify solutions

Identify how you can take back control, what you can do and what practical steps you can take now and in the medium term that will solve or mitigate the most likely problems or outcomes? If you’re struggling to identify a solution, then identify who might be able to help you create one. List the key challenges you need to address to then share with the person you can use as a sounding board.

Take a break

If the solution just isn’t coming, change your position and outlook – physically. If you’re mentally ‘stuck’ changing your location or physical state can help to unblock your thoughts. Taking a walk, doing exercise, reading a book, focusing on an entirely different task can all help us reset and allow us to revisit the problem with a different perspective and energy.

Our team at BHP Consulting have all successfully run businesses, and we understand that every business is unique. Our practical approach to supporting our clients enables us to share our real-world experience to positively impact on the performance of your business. To arrange a call or an exploratory face-to-face meeting, please click here.