Working your way through challenging work situations

Projects are meant to solve problems but many times the project itself becomes a problem. It gets so messy and complicated that there is loss of motivation in the team working on it and everyone including in many cases the top executives as well feel that they would be better off doing something else. This project is killing them and seemingly giving back nothing. But the professionals that we are, we need to get the job done – however dirty it may be.
Working our way through such turbulent times is not an easy task. Its an art as much as a science. It is like being a lotus – deep in the mud yet not dirty by it. When a project is in a mess, it is not all rosy, there will be serious and real problems with no solutions in sight, fights, blame games, politics and what not. We cannot avoid all that but a few simple techniques might ease the pain and help us to sail through the turbulent waters.
Do the opposite
React to a sudden emergency situation by resisting the urge to panic, exhibiting calm by acting as if you felt that way. Even if you don’t, you can sometimes change your emotions by artificially altering your behavioral response.
Breathe right
Control your breathing and by doing so, your pulse as well. Inhale slowly through your nose and release the air on a seven count slowly. This empties the lungs and the time it takes will buy enough time to relax.
Focus on the issue
Focus on getting all the information before rationally examining alternative responses. Use your head, not your impulses.
Explore options
If there are no standard solutions to your problems, think outside the box. Explore new ideas – sometimes ambitious ideas help to solve unresolved issues. Be bold to present “impossible” ideas – they could be the solution.
Do not place blame
If one of your colleagues is at fault, do not blame them – at least until the crisis is over. Show a united front. After things have returned to normal, then take the necessary measures to bring things to appropriate escalation path and with appropriate channel.
Treat others as you would like to be treated.
You will be remembered and revered for how you made others feel.
Give your 100%
Give your personal best. You should feel from inside that you did the best you could have done to your ability. Most times things do happen, if you give your personal best, and even if they don’t, you would definitely have grown – either technically or personally. Also 100% commitment does not go unnoticed by management as well – it could very well bring you your next big assignment that will take your career to further heights.
Everything ends
Know all things – good or bad, pleasant and unpleasant – eventually come to an end.
Not sure if you remember these lines from one of my all time favorites – Lord of the rings, but I think they sum it up well.
“Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again.”
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Hrishikesh Karekar

Hrishikesh is an enterprise agile coach with interests in varied disciplines. Frequently writing on Agile and Lean related topics, he also occasionally ventures into other stuff like Artificial Intelligence as well..