Setbacks are an inevitable part of the human experience, and that includes the business world. As is so often the case, it’s not about getting knocked down but how you get back up.
1. Prepare for Setbacks
Don’t wait for a downturn to happen to start planning for them. Even if you’re riding high now, that won’t last forever. Be sure to set aside money and make contingency plans while you can as to what you’ll do, not if, but when, you experience a setback.
2. Acknowledge it Stings
You may feel compelled to keep a stiff upper lip, refuse to let anyone see you bleed, and press on as though nothing happened. Ignore that compulsion. The first step toward fixing a problem is admitting you have one, and to fully do that you need to fully feel that. That doesn’t mean you need to sit shiva over a setback for weeks. Allow yourself and your team a few days to a week to vent your frustrations, maybe share a pint or two in solidarity (this is a good post-setback bonding exercise) and then get back out there with a clear head ready to make some changes.
3. Avoid “Black Swan Event” Deflections
Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s The Black Swan has been a darling of business types since its publication. At the heart of the book is the idea that dramatic, once-in-a-lifetime, utterly unexpected “Black Swan Events” can be hugely transformative. Tempting as it may be to brush off setbacks as Black Swan Events, however, doing so can persuade you that it was simply bad luck that something bad happened. Even if that’s true, thinking that way can stop you from making the changes necessary to prevent future problems.
4. Postmortem Analysis
What went wrong? What could have been done differently? What did you do, and where was it lacking? These aren’t easy questions to ask or answer, but they’re necessary if you’re to recover from a setback and try to prevent another one like it.
These tips can help ensure you gather yourself and regain your swagger after a setback.