Bad stuff happens. It’s how you respond that matters.

Bad stuff happens. It’s how you respond that matters.


Bad stuff happens. It’s how you respond that matters.

When bad stuff happens in business, it’s the way we respond that matters. Here’s how to “get over it” quickly when things go wrong.

If there’s one truism in business, it’s that sometimes things go wrong.

Mistakes are made. Plans fail. Fate intervenes.

Perhaps a customer’s car is dented or crashed. Or essential parts don’t get ordered or don’t turn up on time. Perhaps a major piece of equipment gets broken. Or a customer is just really angry and nothing you say or do seems to fix it.

When “bad stuff” happens, it can be angering and costly. Tempers flare, blame gets metered out and words are said. In the moment, that might make you feel better, but does it actually make the situation any better?

Experts recommend moving on quickly

Customer service expert and New York Times bestselling business author Shep Hyken in his article “Get over it and move on” says there’s only one good way to react when something bad happens.

“We must get over it and move on,” he said.

“There’s nothing you can do about it. It happened—and now you have a choice. You can let it bother you. Let it fester inside of you. Let it impact your mood. Let it ruin your day or your week. Make you irritable and not pleasant to be around. Or you can get over it and move on!”

It’s part of the art of good leadership and it’s part of the art of good customer service. It’s also sometimes easier said than done!

Here are some principles to keep in mind next time “bad stuff” happens, to help you move on quickly.

1. Positivity fuels productivity

Nothing dents productivity in a team quite like negativity. Whatever the situation, acknowledge what happened but stay as positive as possible. It’s a good way to rally the team and keep everyone working towards your business goals.

2. Choose results over excuses

When you focus on excuses and blame, you’re not focused on the past and you’re not making the changes necessary to improve. Staying focused on the results you want to achieve is a far more constructive use of your time.

3. Failure is the mother of success

So, your apprentice accidentally scratches a customer’s car. What can you learn from it so it never happens again? Can you introduce a new system or procedure or invest in a piece of equipment, to ensure everything runs efficiently in the future?

4. Hold true to your values

Remember the values you hold dear, why you first wanted to go out on your own and start a workshop. If you feel like you’ve lost your way, return to those values and make the changes required to get back on track. Let those values inform every choice you make going forward.

And finally…

Whether it’s a difficult customer, a team member who’s done something infuriating, or “an act of God”, Shep says it’s important to make sure it doesn’t impact on the experience of the next customer you serve.

“The concept of ‘moving on’ goes beyond customer service,” he said. “Whether you have to deal with a difficult customer or another negative situation, you must realise that when it’s over, it’s over. Time to move on.”

This article was published 20/07/2020 and the content is current as at the date of publication.