You work hard, you push things forward, you're permanently on top of everything, and still there are those moments when things run out of control, when everything seems to be stuck, and when you really have the feeling that your work is completely derailed.
Then how do you deal with such a derailment, and how do you get back on track?
Keep reading, and discover it in this blog post!
Before we tackle the how of the derailment, it's good to understand that it's completely normal that there are moments when things don't go the way you want them to go.
If you want to achieve something, no matter whether it's driven by ambition or by a need for change, it's quite unlikely that you will reach it in a straight line from A to B.
There will always be some unexpected elements, there will always be some unforeseen issues you have to deal with, and there will always be changes and adaptions to the initial plan.
And it's good that those small hurdles are there, because that's what makes work exciting!
Imagine the opposite, a situation where everything is completely planable, and where there are never deviations from the original plan. Things would become extremely boring, and your job would probably be automated very quickly.
So be grateful for all the changes that occur, all the adaptations you have to make, and all the turns you have missed and where you ended up somewhere between the bushes!
Now, don't misunderstand me, there is a thin line between the excitement of continuous change and challenge, and being constantly in a firefighting mode where you deal with the same topics multiple times. So make sure you're always on the right side of that thin line ;-)
And if you are, then you know that things will derail, and that it's your job to get them back on track, each time again.
So how do you do that?
Well, by being prepared!
If you know that it's a part of job, then you can think about it upfront and you can already have your emergency plan or your plan B at hand.
In some cases it's good to dive into the 'technical' or content part of your work and create an emergency plan for that.
Then you're more working in the FMEA direction (Failure Mode and Effects Analysis): what could possibly go wrong, and how can we deal with it when it effectively does go wrong.
Another approach is to have a plan B integrated in a strong support network: who are the people you can go to, or who can help you when things go wrong.
Having thought of such a support network upfront, is a very strong approach, because every idea is generated through the creativity that happens between people. So when your work is derailed and you feel stuck, then it's probably a good idea to fall back at a number of people who can talk you through.
To build a strong support network, you can think about the next questions:
- Who is the person who is ultimately responsible for your work? Or with other words, who is the one who will have a bad night of sleep once you fail completely?
It's good to have that person in your support network, because he/she is also personally involved in your work and the results that you deliver. So you can also challenge him/her to support you in your success!
- Who do you consult to (double) check things? Who is a good sparring partner?
These are people who are naturally interested in what you do, and people who are more or less on the same page. They understand you, they know what you're going through, perhaps they're a little bit upfront in their experience so they have gone through it for themselves.
- Who can support you in the execution?
These are the doers. The ones who take action, and who you can activate to get things going.
- Who does inspire you? Who fuels you with new ideas?
The people who can bring in totally unexpected ideas. Probably people from a totally different field of expertise (because innovation never happens vertically but always horizontally).
If you surround yourself with people of all 4 categories, then you can be pretty sure that you are very well armed for almost every challenge that might come into your direction. And even when your project, your program, or your work in general is completely derailed and uncontrollably gone wrong, with the right input from the right people, you will still be able to adapt or correct your activities and get back on track!
So if you're in a derailed situation right now, or if you want to prevent it, it's always a good idea to consciously start building your support network.
Just take a few moments to go over the questions above, and visualise who of the people that surround you could be placed into which category.
If you notice that one or more categories are fairly sparsely populated, then it's a good moment to start networking (internally or externally) and meet new interesting people who can help you when you need them most!
If you want to dive even deeper in this idea of building a support network and discover how it can boost your growth as an Ambitious Leader, then feel free to book a free 30 minutes (re-)connect session with me so we can have a look on what you might need most right now.
Written by Dennis Fredrickx
, the Business Booster
Dennis helps Ambitious Leaders to reach more in an easier way.