5 for 5 blog – Rolling with the punches

6 Dec



That was the first thought that went through my mind. On a recent trip an airlines texted me 16 hours before I was supposed to leave on a quick trip. They said they would rebook me. Within a few minutes, I got another text saying I was rebooked and I would get to my destination at roughly the same time. Cool. However, when I looked at the text closer I began to realize it was leaving a day later, which meant I was going to miss the key meeting that was the reason for the trip. Not cool.

In my role and especially in the past several years I have constantly run into challenges and issues like these. In fact, if you are a knowledge worker, then I would say we all face these problems. We have plans laid out to deliver a project, land a deal, or bring in results….and something happens to knock us off course. And while we have talked about on this blog before,

It is how we perceive the problems and persevere towards a solution that matters.

So if we use my unfortunate flight cancellation as a test case, how can we learn to roll with the punches:

  • Be clear about the problem you need to solve
    • Often I find myself and others in the situation of not trying to solve for the right problem. In my case, the problem I needed to solve for was to be at the meeting I mentioned. However, instead of focusing on that need, I was initially more attuned to arriving the night before. I had always arrived the day before to ensure at least some rest ahead of the meeting.
  • Be persistent and flexible in working towards your solution
    • Initially I contacted the airlines where the cancellation occurred for help in remedying the situation. While I spoke with a very nice customer service representative, they were unable to help me in getting closer to solving the problem. I did, however, think to call the travel agency that we use to book tickets as another option. The agent that helped me there, checked at least a dozen options before we finally landed on a schedule that helped me reach my meeting in time. I should also say I was comparing notes with a colleague that was traveling with me and while we both worked on this, we found a solution neither the airline nor the travel agent initially saw. The point here is once you are clear on what you need to solve
  • Learn
    • The one constant in the world that we live in is challenge. There are new challenges every day…….and there are never the same is yesterday. Each new challenge is an opportunity to learn and push your thinking in new ways. We need leaders with the confidence and creativity to tackle these problems. There are thousands of people that can stand around and point at the problem, but leaders stand up and find a way where there seemingly is no way.

Here are this week’s 5 for 5 articles:

Assessment: What’s Your Curiosity Profile? – by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic – via Harvard Business Review

5 Steps To Empower Others To Think More Creatively – by Marcia Reynolds – via Brand Quarterly

Giving Up Is the Enemy of Creativity – by Brian J. Lucas and Loran Nordgren – via Harvard Business Review

The 10 Qualities of Creative Leaders – by Shane Parrish – via Farnam Street Blog

16 Free Lessons To Enhance Your Leadership – by Davis Burkus – via david burkus.com

  • http://davidburkus.com/newyearnewleader
  • SO WHAT: Want to start your new year off with some leadership inspiration….sign up for this offering. Also if you are not subscribed to David’s podcast “LDRLB” I would highly recommend doing so.
  • Tags: Leadership

all the best, kevin