I preface this chapter by stating that as long as you live, problems are going to occur. If you do not have any problems, you may want to consider whether you are truly living life. When a problem occurs, it is usually during the most intense time of the project, or one-day or one hour before deadline. Don’t panic. Keep in mind if the problem had shown up any earlier in the process, you could have come up with an alternative. However, you do not have that leeway at this point. You have only the realities that have been given to you. At this critical time, here is what you need to do: Take a Deep Breath Always remain calm and resist the urge to overreact. Now is not the time to dramatize or appear scared or paralyzed. Remember that everyone is looking to you for guidance; they will follow your lead. Use phrases, such as “let’s work through this” or “stay focused” or “everything is going to be okay.” Keeping a level head in a hectic or chaotic situation is very important. The true art of calmness comes from believing everything is going to turn out for the best — even when it does not go according to plan. Gather the Facts Begin to gather the facts. This can come from almost any source: the person you delegated the responsibility, a vendor, or your own experiences. You are looking for the facts only. It is human nature at this stage of the problem for people to start blaming others or concentrating on the problem and not the solution. It is your job to gather the facts quickly to develop a workable and acceptable solution. Run the Scenarios Once you have all the facts, it is time to run the scenarios. What do I mean by that? Unlike the cycle of decision-making, you do not have the time to write down information or do research to make a decision. In one thought, you brainstorm a solution, assess the probable result in your mind, and determine whether or not that result is acceptable. You keep doing this exercise until you come up with at least two end results that are acceptable. These two or three scenarios are going to be the solution to accomplishing your plan. For example3 Full stop A musical artist was to have shown up an hour ago as entertainment for a networking event, and it is now one hour before the event starts and your artist has not yet arrived. Calmly you begin to gather the facts by calling the artist’s manager and asking why he has not shown up. It appears the artist was overbooked, his manager left a message on your staff member’s voicemail (who was called out of town for a family emergency), and no one realized the artist was not coming until this moment. Instead of placing blame on why the message was not forwarded or dwelling on the overbooking error, you begin to run the scenarios. Here are a few possibilities: 87. Play the artist’s music on a CD player during the event and announce the artist was not able to attend due to a previous engagement. 88. From your previous research, call another artist on your list and see if he available to fill in. If the back-up artist cannot come until later than you planned for a performance, play his music until his arrival. 89. Go without any music and exclusively focus on the occasion as a networking event. What is the key to success here? You must act as if it was all planned this way. Never admit failure unless it is absolutely necessary. Hold it together! Do not let others know what you are feeling or berate anyone during the event. Your breakdown and analysis of the situation can wait until the event is over and the guests have left. After each project, you must take the time to reflect on the lessons learned and bring about closure. It is a vital step to your success as a project manager and can be done in four easy steps: 90. Consider some of the processes and formulas you found about the process that you will consistently implement in the future for projects that you are responsible for managing or completing? 91. Take this opportunity to examine the impact of, what has been learned. Reflecting back on earlier projects, identify any mistakes or breakdowns in process that will need to be fixed or addressed next time. 92. If you have not already done this, you need to create a master file. This file can be in the form of an electronic database, address book or rolodex. The purpose of this file is to gain easy access to already established contacts for future projects. This file should include vendors or contacts that you would feel comfortable calling upon again. Continued affiliation with these contacts is valuable because they: 93. Gave above satisfactory service 94. Provided competitive pricing 95. Served as a valuable reference and resource 96. Lastly, do not forget to say “Thank You” to those people you made contact with during the course of the project. You do this for two reasons: · Because it is the courteous thing to do · You never know when showing your appreciation might benefit you in the future Although, you may have significantly decreased the “You Need This When?” moments, there will be some issue or problem that happens that is beyond your control. It is at that moment, the vendor or contact will remember your appreciation for their services and make an extra effort to help you out with this situation. What are some of the things you found about the process that you will consistently implement in the future for projects that you are responsible for managing or completing? List them below. Let us take this opportunity to examine the impact of what has been learned. Reflecting back on earlier projects, identify any mistakes or breakdowns in process that will need to be fixed or addressed next time. Good Luck with your Journey to becoming a Successful Project Manager. It has been my pleasure to give you the benefit of my experiences. Please let me hear from you on your, success!