Murphy’s Law. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Though seemingly pessimistic, this point of view can have an extremely positive outcome if embraced fully. Understanding that troubles and tribulation will come during your tenure as a leader is an ever-present viewpoint needed in order to protect your organization and employees. If there is anything leaders have learned in 2020, it is that anything can happen and you have to be prepared for when the unthinkable hits. As the old saying goes, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. But planning for all situations, good and bad, will put you in a better position to lead your team through all of life’s seasons.
Identify Key Threats
Every organization faces different challenges, so it’s important to understand what specific problems your company may face. These can be industry specific or dependent on the size of your company. Look over the past several years to see what has affected your business in the past. If a problem has caused issues for you before, it could happen again. Look into your specific high-risk areas and map out two separate plans for potential scenarios that may arise. The first plan is to develop a system that may help you avoid past problems, or even mediate those issues. The second plan is to create a structured approach to dealing with the problem. Be sure to include specific roles each leader, department, or other stakeholders have throughout the process.
Acknowledge Universal Threats
Businesses come in all shapes and sizes. And while not every business will deal with the same issues, there are still universal threats that affect every employer. There is one threat in particular, affecting all businesses, regardless of size or industry. Through the course of a year, there is a normal economic ebb and flow. Supply and demand may rise and fall, and preparing for these dry spells can help cushion the drop. Acknowledging this threat is the first step in preparing for it. During the past few months, many businesses were forced to close their doors to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Once they began to reopen, they had to navigate new regulations determining how many customers they could serve or new capacity limits. Although no one could have planned for this, it is still an example of formulated supply and demand control. The companies that were able to weather this the best were those that adapted quickly and changed their approach to continue serving customers, in addition to having plenty of capital stored up for a rainy day. Look into what your business, as well as others in your market, did this year, and create a plan to be able to withstand a shutdown or slowdown should one occur again
Plan for Talent Shortage Threats
At the first part of 2020, the U.S. workforce was maintaining a 3.5% unemployment rate, well below economists’ expectations for “full employment.” Canada was experiencing a similarly strong employment situation with unemployment sitting at 5.5% in January. Months later, millions of workers were left jobless, spiking the unemployment rates in North America into the high teens. In the first quarter of this year, businesses experienced both a talent shortage and an overflow of available workers. In each case, businesses had to navigate the changing of employment. The normal up and down of unemployment will happen over the course of your career as a leader. Plan for different employment scenarios and put systems in place to handle each threat, including turnover, forced closures, spikes in talent demand, etc. Embrace the solutions available to you to handle changes in your workforce by partnering with your local staffing agency. Companies like Express Employment Professionals can help you bolster your workforce when seasonal demand is high. And should you experience staff turnover, a staffing company can help you fill your talent void by recruiting qualified candidates for your business.
Avoid Protentional Problems Through Preparation
In every scenario, preparation is key to avoid potential threats. While not every problem can be circumvented, there are ways to put your organization in the best position possible by navigating problems through education, training, and proper business practices. While you may not be able to plan for every situation, you can plan for real-life scenarios that have affected your business or other companies in your market in the past. By embracing Murphy’s Law and understanding that anything that can go wrong will go wrong, you will be able to position your business to handle anything that comes its way.
What have you done to prepare for potential threats? How has your leadership team created strategies to help overcome obstacles? Let us know in the comments section below!