Here’s a quote from General George Patton: “Plans must be simple and flexible. They should be made by the people who are going to execute them.”
We’ve worked with enough companies to know that employees get irate when they’re told about plans too late or they’re not involved in any way, shape, or form in the decision-making process. Therefore, they’re given last minute instructions and plans that – oftentimes – they know will not work as designed. This lack of frontline employee input can easily lead to a lack of success.
But not all plans are strategic in nature or need to be executive-driven. Many plans – especially those that are more situational – can be developed by individual employees. You are the ones who are going to be executing these plans. You are the ones who are going to tailor them to the situation or the individual that you are interacting with at the time.
Therefore, create plans to cover some of these important but common situations:
- You’re asked a question, and you don’t have the knowledge or experience to answer.
- The customer complains and then demands immediate resolution.
- You’re given a last minute project by a supervisor, when you already have competing deadlines on other projects.
- The other person is making a request that you know cannot be addressed the way they want it addressed, or in the timeframe they want it addressed.
- The customer asks about a product or service that you don’t have or don’t deliver.
- The customer complains about your co-worker, your company, or some issue that occurred years ago.
These are all typical issues that many of us may run into occasionally (or frequently!). Instead of putting yourself in a position to have to come up with the perfect answer on the spot, create plans for how you would address each of the situations.
Yes, the customer and the specific concern may to be unique in every case. However, if you have a plan, your comfort and confidence level will rise, and you will eliminate one variable of the equation when determining how to address the situation.
Create simple and flexible plans for common (but important) situations.