What do late flights, construction change order requests, or new products that don’t get delivered as promised have in common? Delays.
The delays have a cost. Delays can cost you more than a hit to your bottom line. Delays can tarnish your brand reputation and customer loyalty, experience, and satisfaction.
Some circumstances are unexpected, like the latest polar vortex in parts of the country that froze a lot of pipes in commercial properties, including mine. Some of these unexpected threats can delay even the best plans.
It all comes down to how you handle the delays. What’s a leader to do to avoid delays?
Try these tips:
1. Plan for Power Loss or Interruption
We don’t think about power loss until it happens. Any power outage at any time is bad for business. Since cold weather can bring on falling tree branches and downed power lines, identify how you will keep employees and guests safe and protect sensitive equipment. Check your insurance coverage for business interruption coverage and have your insurance agent on speed dial.
Bill Springer, Principle at Conrad Insurance Agency in Canton, Michigan says, “Ask your agent: What happens if you can’t operate out of your place of business?”
He also suggests that you have a contingency plan on where you would go if something happens to your work space. Can you operate remotely and forward phone lines and internet? If you have perishable product, will your insurance replace the inventory? Better to have these answers now rather than when the event happens.
2. Prime Your Communication Process
Extreme weather is stressful for everyone, particularly businesses who still need to serve their customers even during bad weather. Have a predefined system in place for communicating business-related updates.
When we discovered that our pipes froze on the day of a scheduled Level Up Networking Mixer, we used social media and our email system to communicate our event was cancelled to our attendees and other guest speakers who were presenting. We let them know that we would be in touch with them. Within two business days, we notified our attendees of the new date.
3. Pack Your Patience and Sense of Humor
When we discovered that a partial freeze of our pipes and realized we would need to cancel a morning event, we light-heartedly asked our social media community if anyone had a blow dryer we could borrow to unfreeze our pipes. You can choose to get upset or roll with it. Choose to roll with it.
Unexpected delays may happen. How you lead through them matters.
When have you lead through a particularly challenging event? How did you handle it?