What do I do Now?

1. What I had in mind or planned has not worked out the way I intended?

2. I am not sure how to proceed based on what has just happened?

3. I may be a little low on confidence to move forward

As a leader in an organization, hearing “What do I do Now” can be a real opportunity, even a call to action. How so, you say? Here is what I suggest when you hear this call for help in your enterprise:

1. Talk with the person who has spoken this and find out the following:

a. What happened?
b. What was your intended results?
c. Why did things change?
d. What do you currently have in mind?

Starting with these questions will enable you to “get a pulse” on the situation before you run off with potential solutions. I often tell people that our country is “full of solutions” seeking problems. Think about it; Americans always have a solution, but rarely take the time to fully understand the problem.

2. After asking the questions in section 1, do the following:

a. Use some methodology to examine the situation- Force Field, Fishbone, etc.; don’t just guess, look at all sides
b. Listen well-don’t immediately offer a solution, but find a way to allow the person immersed in the crisis to find their own solution. You can be their tour guide, but don’t do it for them. Every time you answer something that someone else could have figured out you are denying them a developmental opportunity.

3. Offer encouragement and honest feedback. Many issues chip away at the self-confidence of others and a little encouragement can go a long way in helping them dig their way out. Too often we take the shovel from their hands and deny them the opportunity to find their way. We need to become better encouragers and mentors and stop doing so much for others who have the capacity to do their own problem solving.

Three simple steps; three easy ways to help others when they lose their way.

The next time you hear the phrase “What do I do Now” you should be better prepared to help them. Remember, helping does not mean doing it for them. We need to help others be prepared, not always be prepared for them.