Unexpected Challenges- Effective Decision Making


Arriving At Solutions That Are Effective For My Business


As an entrepreneur and a designer, I LIVE in the world of Unexpected Challenges.   How I handle them are what makes my work and business effective ....ultimately affecting my career and my lifestyle.

Early on in my career, I would have a plan in place and believe so deeply in the plan.  I would focus on it and push to make it happen.  That was my youth and my tenacity!  But I soon learned that I would not survive the world of design or entrepreneurship if I was inflexible.

Now, don't misunderstand.  Goals, plans, ideas are great.   I am one of the most goal-oriented people I know but being my own boss has taught me a lot.....That maybe, just maybe there is a better idea! There is a better solution.  And let's face it.  If you are creative....ideas are fluid and abundantly supplied in your imagination.

So, the disappointment.  That is what I had to let go of and get past.  The idea was SO great and I really SAW it in my mind's eye.  Or, the end result of a plan in place and then being told it was not going to happen....disappointing.  I would have to  gather my crestfallen self and regroup.

Now, as a veteran of many many projects and designs - I have 5 more ideas handy at all times.   I don't spend time morning an idea.  Time is valuable and ideas are abundant.  I am able to step up and move quickly to keep the momentum of a project going.

Now, a client or business partner who isn't used to unexpected challenges, may not be able to move as swiftly.   I have realized that and slowed down to help them mourn the idea and then help them transition into seeing the value in the new plan.

Unexpected Challenges - Here is how I tackle them

1) Quickly identify what the problem/issue is - without fault and totally objective

2) Identify and realize the variables. That means discerning if it's, budget, structural, personal taste, ego....it could be a whole host of things and you need to be able to quickly figure out the WHAT.

3) Ask questions, be humble, listen and gather info.

4) Pause.  Do not jump in with your ideas but listen to others ideas and input.  Maybe their idea is terrific and you should authentically express value. This is important for negotiating your idea.

5) If in fact your solution is best.  Be flexible.  Allow others to weigh in and make adjustments if necessary.  Stay humble.  Keep your ego out of it.  Its business and your feelings don't belong there.


Working Towards Resolving Issues is Key

By seeing the "Big Picture" of the end result and knowing that if you are able to stay fluid and resolve issues quickly....you will come out a winner.  People want to work with experts and winners.   Keep it that way.  

Don't get so attached to an idea....keep a few in mind so you can quickly resolve the issue and move on.  Its a Win Win for all and the project keeps moving.


Elizabeth Ribons, ASID,CID

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