What to do when things go wrong…

If you have a business, you’ve got problems. Most managers point out the problems to people who can’t do anything about them, but there’s another way. Watch this video to discover how to get problems handled.


Have you noticed that sometimes things go wrong?
Exactly. If you have a business, you got problems. So, you were not hired to point out all the problems to people who can’t do something about it. In fact, that’s being very negative. And if you’re doing that, you’re really taking energy out of the organization. Instead, take negatives and roll them up in the organization. In other words, never talk to your peers or co-workers about something that’s going wrong. Instead, go to the person who can make the difference and bring a solution, alternatively. As Thumper used to say, “If you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all.” Be the positive force that creates change, not the victim who is complaining about what is. Of course, those things will go wrong—it’s a business. Get comfortable with that but own your power of bringing solutions every day to the right people who can make an impact.

One Response to “What to do when things go wrong…”

  1. Katharine McMullen says:

    Hi Roxanne –

    Thanks for your weekly column; I enjoy it.

    While I generally agree with you on this topic, I will say that there are absolutely times when it is appropriate to bring a problem to the attention of a colleague who is not the one who is going to fix it, but may be at risk of experiencing the same problem. For example, “I received a bad data file this week. I know your process uses similar data files. I suggest that you check for this issue I encountered to be sure it is not impacting your files.” By appropriately sharing information about problems we encounter, we can help our colleagues avoid the same sorts of problems.

    Another reason I have shared information about a problem with a colleague is to see if s/he has experienced the same and if so, how it was resolved. Perhaps that falls under the idea of bringing it to the attention of the person who can fix it, though. I generally do my best to try the resources around me to resolve problems before escalating them up, when possible.

    I guess the net of this is that when talking about problems, we must ensure we do so in a positive, productive way with the purposes of a) helping others avoid the same and b) finding a solution as expediently as possible.

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