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How to Recover from an Oops
It happens to the best of us.
We spend hours working on a project and then at the last minute, something fails. The website is down, you’ve printed something with a typo, you’ve missed a deadline, you have a PR crisis, you get outwitted by a competitor, the list is infinite.
Though we’d all like to go back in time to avoid the “oops” all together, science hasn’t quite caught up with H.G. Wells yet. Here’s how you can weather the storm in 2016:
It can be easy to get swept up in the moment of a crisis, even in a small-scale. Resist the urge to immediately jump into action, which can lead to overreacting, unnecessary stress, and words you’ll wish you could take back later. Take a short 3-5 seconds to take a couple deep breaths. It will help you focus on the task at hand with better mental and emotional clarity.
Evaluate what the problem is, and how to fix it. This is the time for troubleshooting, so gather the troops and figure out how to fix the problem. Then figure out how you want to recover from the problem if any of your clients/customers were affected. Do you need PR? Do you need to offer an apology or explanation?
Make sure everyone is clear on his or her role and put the solution into place. A sense of urgency is important, but make sure you’re fixing for the long-term and not just sticking a Band-Aid on something you’ll need to address again and again. Once you’ve fixed the problem, let the necessary parties know that the problem has been fixed, both internally and externally.
This step is unfortunately the most commonly missed in problem-fixing. Resist the urge to move on as normal to immediately recover from lost time fixing your problem; instead, take some time to brainstorm as a team- why did this happen? How did this happen? How can we avoid it in the future? Take time now while the situation is fresh in your minds to learn what was done incorrectly, what was or was not avoidable, and what you want to take away from this.
Oops can happen to anyone. It is our belief that what you do with the oops is more often significantly more important than the oops itself.