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|Wednesday, December 01, 2010|
By Tom Cox
A client, Nick, called me to discuss his bad day at work. By "bad day" he meant that he didn't have the day he intended to have. As you'll see, it was quite something.
Yes, that was the pebble that would start the avalanche that would sweep away Nick's plan for his day and consume three hours of his life. It also set the stage for Nick to have multiple negative interactions with peers throughout the organization.
Go with Plan B
First, when circumstances take on a life of their own, you may need to jettison your plan for the day. By trying to salvage his plan, Nick didn't take time to have potentially positive interactions with his peers, many of whom he was meeting for the first time.
No Tunnel Vision
Nick had gotten fixated on two things - salvaging his plan for the day, and establishing that the hot issue wasn't really even an issue. It would have been better to accept that the emails were out, that the circumstances had taken on a life of their own, and that this was going to be a day for teaching and learning. But because of Nick's extreme task orientation, he was unwilling or unable to shift gears. That's a hard thing for many Type A hard chargers to learn. It takes practice.
Thomas B. Cox runs Cox Business Consulting, Inc. and is creator of the blog and web radio show Tom on Leadership, aimed at CEOs and business owners. He has worked with IBM, Oracle, Tektronix, ODOT, Intel and others.
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