Whilst planning is key to running a successful business, we can’t always predict the challenges that we will face. That’s why leaders need to be quick on their feet, agile and adapt to the ever-changing landscape around us. From the sudden outbreak of pandemics to financial crises and recessions, unexpected obstacles can arise at any moment, putting your organisation at risk.
Having founded Medical Logistics amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, I have learnt valuable lessons on how to tackle unforeseen challenges. As a result, we’ve developed strategies to overcome these setbacks. Here are some of the most important lessons that I have learnt throughout my career to help you be prepared for the unexpected and emerge stronger from the storms that come your way.
The best way to deal with unforeseen challenges is to prepare for these as much as you can in advance. Whether that means putting contingency plans in place for worst-case scenarios or considering what could go wrong and creating solutions and plans for each situation. This could involve having a backup supplier for critical materials or developing a crisis management plan to address unforeseen events like natural disasters or cyber-attacks. However, these plans are not evergreen you must constantly adapt and review these to remain agile, adjusting to the changing landscape and learning from the issues that arise around you.
Mckinsey’s research shows that adaptability is the critical success factor during periods of transformation and systemic change. Adaptability is the ability to learn flexibly and efficiently and to apply that knowledge across situations. If you are open to change now, you can control uncertainty before it becomes too hard to change course.
The nature of being a 24/7 medical courier service, means we must be speedy to provide quick medical services to our customers no matter where they are. This means we have to be able to adapt to unforeseen challenges such as adverse weather, strikes, traffic and technical difficulties on a day-to-day basis. That’s why we’ve invested significantly into innovations to help overcome these barriers like drone tech. It’s important to embrace technology and those that don’t adapt will undoubtedly fall behind.
Instead of viewing obstacles as barriers to progress, consider them as opportunities to innovate and drive meaningful change in your industry. While conventional problem-solving may provide short-term solutions, taking calculated risks and innovating can lead to long-term progression.
The key to the success of Medical Logistics was recognising a need for innovation in my industry and acting on it. After 10 years of working in the field, I observed a lack of progression as companies were unwilling to deviate from the industry norms. Unforeseen challenges can help identify problems that need solving and create opportunities for innovation. Whether you’re addressing small internal issues or tackling larger industry-wide problems, being flexible, adaptable and open-minded is essential. By adopting a growth mindset that views problems as opportunities for innovation and development, you can drive the success of your business forward.
Finally, if things go wrong don’t give up. Stay calm and focused. Refrain from going into panic mode or overwhelming yourself. Take a deep breath and step back and assess the situation objectively. Provide clarity to your team and don’t be afraid to reach out for help to navigate through challenging times.
Changing your relationship with failure is critical preparation for dealing effectively with unforeseen challenges head-on. Always focus on the positive and see failure as a learning curb and stepping stone to success. Taking this optimistic approach can help you see failure as a friend and an opportunity for growth, ultimately enabling you to bounce back quickly. This will have a positive domino effect on your organisation, your resilience and perseverance will shine through allowing you to be a stronger leader and inspire others to believe in your business.
As a business owner, I have come to realise that facing adversity can be a valuable opportunity to learn, grow, and innovate. In the unpredictable roller-coaster journey of running a business, it’s important to accept that both ups and downs will occur. Embracing a positive mindset towards failure and taking calculated risks can lead to breakthroughs and innovation within an industry. By approaching challenges with an open mind, you can identify problems that need to be solved and learn from each situation. Continuously adapting, growing, and changing is crucial to staying competitive and improving your business. Therefore, it’s essential to view obstacles as opportunities to improve and enhance your business.