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Wednesday, November 25, 2009


We've had our fair share of surprises this week. Many can't be reported in this blog -- they are internal or personnel-related issues, but one thing defines them: Their utter unpredictability.

Certainly, yesterday and today my work schedule turned on its head as we adapted and revised processes on the fly to ensure that our publications would be delivered somewhat on schedule (they will be late, regardless).

Perhaps my business is more volatile than most -- maybe it reflects my personality. But I think there are other issues here. In business, things happen. The best laid plans collide with the reality of the unexpected. Impressively however the business with a plan, and with some collective experience, has the tools to weather the storm.

Collective wisdom helps, but individual ideas usually provide the answer.
By bringing all your employees into the process, useful suggestions emerge. In this case, a key suggestion from a part-time employee provided the best answer: "Why don't you call a former employee and see if she is available," the employee suggested. I did, and she was.

Regular meetings and processes provide some cohesion and structure in unstable environments.
We had our regular weekly meeting, but I had to reassign some tasks within the meeting on the fly. Nevertheless, we kept communications open and in place.

Ideas sometimes emerge in crisis that solve other issues.
Next week is the major annual construction show in Ontario, and I've always attended. But this time around, family obligations make it harder to participate. With the crisis, one of our employees suggested another could fill in for many of my responsibilities. While the crisis has been resolved, the suggestion still makes sense -- so I'll attend part, not all of the conference (and thus have more time for my family).

Overall, it is turning into a surprisingly successful week.

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