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When crunch points rear their ugly heads

COMMONNESS - Bong R. Osorio () - February 27, 2012 - 12:00am

Acrunch point is dealing with a problem, big or small, under time pressure. The quicker you get out of the problem, the better for you, the activity you are doing and the people around you. It is also a “pass the paper, finish or not finish” situation where you rush things up to meet a deadline. Of course, finishing on time under a more relaxed and upbeat disposition is always preferred over completing a requirement at the last minute, not sure everything you are doing is truly in place.

Everyday unexpected things, good or bad, are guaranteed to happen in your personal and professional life. You are happy if they are good, and you turn into a “crunch point manager” if they are bad. Setbacks in your life and your business are unavoidable — they are bound to happen sooner or later. The question is — are you prepared to face up to the challenges crunch times bring? No matter how neat or intact your plans are, life just has a way of throwing a monkey wrench into your gears every now and then. Or Mr. Murphy could throw one of his laws in your path at any time — “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong” — and change your course.

Most of the time, crunch points, like earthquakes come with no forewarning. Things just happen lightning fast, downing your defenses and leaving you scampering for cover. Under such circumstances, you should remember one thing: it’s not about what slaps you but how you deal with the slap. Dealing with difficult occurrences requires sturdiness. As the popular adage goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” But toughness, as Brian Tracy’s book Crunch Point posits, is only the beginning. It’s good advice but you’ll need a whole lot more if you’re going to conquer your crunch point.”

In his book, Tracy shares 21 principles for dealing with your next crunch point or crisis.

• A positive and optimistic air kicks off the process. Spread the “calm virus” to people around you. When you face a crunch point, take some time to close your eyes, breathe deeply, and visualize yourself as tranquil, confident, relaxed and in complete control. Speak kindly and courteously. Arrest your fear and act as if you don’t have a care in the world, and that whatever has happened, it does not really bother you at all. A little training in acting can help here.

• Self-confidence comes from a feeling of forward motion toward your goals. Be confident in your abilities.  Get really immersed in finding the solutions to your problems, allowing no time to worry about what has happened, especially those things that you have no control over or cannot change.

• The job at crunch point is to develop courage. You need to do whatever is necessary to fight the fire, and get through the crisis. Dare to go forward, believing that there are two parts of courage. The first is the courage to step out in faith with no guarantee of success, an essential part that you can develop with practice. The second is the courage to persist in the face of disappointment and temporary failure.

• Facts don’t lie. Get them. Imagine that you are your own management consultant, brought in to analyze the problem situation objectively. Act like a “problem detective,” insistently and persistently asking questions without deciding in advance what needs to be implemented or not implemented. The right thing to do will progressively surface, if you get enough facts that have been checked carefully before working on them.

• Even the best of people make mistakes. But when slip-ups occur, take control. Focus on damage control and what can be done in the future. Then take a deep breath and exhale the bad raps — a key element in successfully resolving any business crisis.

• The willingness to make the hard decisions and manage the crisis is essential. It can cut possible losses sooner rather than later. It can also largely determine your success or failure both in the short term and in the long term. According to a Stanford University research among the top CEOs of Fortune 1000 corporations, the single most important quality of great leaders is their ability to make difficult decisions as they deal with a crisis when it occurs. How you manage the inevitable crisis provides an accurate measure of your level of wisdom and maturity.

• A “no surprise policy” should always be in place during crunch moments. It is attached to the process of communicating constantly. Be courageous and aggressive in talking, writing and contacting the key people who are or can be affected by the crisis. Always keep them in the loop as you ask for input and assistance.

• Focusing on one major limitation is key. Identify your constraints. Don’t get yourself caught up with little problems around the edges. Train your sight on a foremost restriction that is holding you back. Removing this constraint can assist you in the achievement of your most important goal faster than anything else you can do. Get on with it.

• You are a potential genius. Be not afraid to unleash your creativity. You can find a solution to any problem you face if you do it. And the way that you set free your ingenuity is by centering your mental energies on one single problem — defining it clearly, developing as many solutions as you can, and implementing them.

• The most helpful thing you can do is to remember the little things that you have forgotten.  Focus on key results areas in the growth and development of your business and life. For example, every business and every life begins with certain core competencies. Harness them to your advantage.

• 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of activities. Concentrate on your priorities. Discipline yourself to work on them. By concentrating on your main concerns, you will be more productive and effective in helping yourself and your business out of the crisis.

• The most important quality you can have is a total commitment to success and to winning. The key to victory is for you to go on the attack, relentlessly moving forward. It has been said that daring will get you into a lot of problems, but more daring will get you out of your problems as well. Take action immediately, take command and take the triumphant position.

• Single-minded focus on customer care works. It is the fastest way to get through a business crunch. Business success comes from high sales, generated through better relationship with customers. Close more sales. It is absolutely amazing how many business problems can be solved quickly and easily by the simple act of asking your customers to buy from you, to buy again, and to bring their family members and friends.

• It is when you most feel that you have no time to relax and simplify your life that is most important that you make the time to do so.  Keep things simple. In his essay “The Fox and the Hedgehog,” Isaiah Berlin says that the fox is clever because he knows one big thing. The one big thing that you need to know and practice during a crunch point is simplification. It will give you the space you need to solve any problem that life can throw at you.

• Nothing is more important than your health. Conserve your energy. Crunches will come and go, but your health is always with you. There is nothing that happens in the outside world that can justify sacrificing your long-term health and well-being. Your life is precious. Take good care of your health, especially during crunch time.

• Character is king. You exhibit your authentic character when you are under pressure, and when you face setbacks or reversals. Resolve in advance that you will rise to any challenge and that you will never compromise your integrity for any reason. Behave as if everyone is looking at you, because they are.

The resourcefully uncomplicated list above comes in handy in times of trials and tribulations. They can be your best moves in rising to the challenge when crunch points rear their ugly heads.

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E-mail bongosorio@yahoo.com or bong_osorio@abs-cbn.com for comments, questions and suggestions. Thank you for communicating.

BRIAN TRACY BULL BUSINESS CRUNCH CRUNCH POINT FOX AND THE HEDGEHOG ISAIAH BERLIN TIME
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