Even the most mundane of jobs are dealt with surprises every once in a while, and it’s not always a good thing. While we do appreciate some changes to routine stuff, sometimes, it’s not one that we desire, especially if the turn of events land us in hot soup.

Take cues from the CLEO Change Makers by making positive changes in your workplace, even when crises are abound.

THE JUNKED E-MAIL
Your boss e-mailed you about an urgent task… but the e-mail ended up in your spam folder and you’ve only just realised it.
Deal with it! Apologise immediately (but not excessively) and then drop everything else to complete the task. You want to be seen as proactive and reliable. Don’t blame someone else or complain about the e-mail system – that just makes you look irresponsible.
Prevent it! Check your spam folder regularly to ensure that important e-mails don’t end up there. If they do, get your IT department to fix the problem.

THE MID-MEETING MELTDOWN
You and your colleague are midway through a major business pitch when she gets an anxiety attack and caves in, and you have to present instead.
Deal with it! Keep calm and carry on. If it’s a Powerpoint presentation, use the slides as prompts for what to say next. Alternatively, grab your colleague’s notes. Whatever you do, don’t diss her behaviour in front of clients – this will give them a bad impression of your company.
Prevent it! If your colleague is prone to nerves, rehearse with her beforehand so you’re both confident about the presentation. Do a dry run with other colleagues who aren’t on the project and ask them which parts sound unclear to them – this also gives you an inkling of what questions may pop up.

THE SHOCK EXIT
A subordinate suddenly quits even though she is nowhere close to finishing a major project for you.
Deal with it! If you can’t delegate this, re-prioritise your tasks and take charge of the project. Immediately inform your client or boss that it’s running behind schedule due to unforeseen circumstances and ask for an extension. But before this, you should do everything to keep your employee in the role until the project is completed or a replacement is found.
Prevent it! Check in regularly on your team so you can spot potential “loyalty” issues early on. Always have a leadership plan so that there will be people who can step up whenever a stalwart team member leaves.

THE CLIENT BOMBSHELL
At the last minute, your client demands major revisions to a project… with the expectation that the deadline and budget remain the same.
Deal with it! Unless you have enough leverage to push back, get cracking. But first, obtain a clear written brief from the client, so you know exactly what to do – you don’t want her demanding further changes!
Prevent it! At the start of every project, get a contract outlining the budget, deliverables and timelines. If your client makes unreasonable demands, negotiate for a more feasible deadline and bigger budget based on the original contract.

THE SOCIAL MEDIA SLIP
Your subordinate has accidentally leaked sensitive information… on the company’s Twitter account.
Deal with it! Quickly delete the tweet. If people have retweeted it or left comments, tell your public relations team and see if your company needs to make an official apology or statement.
Prevent it! Play it safe: Limit the number of people who have access to your company’s Twitter account and always remind colleagues about SOPs.

Expert sources: Chris Mead, Regional Director of Recruiting Experts, Hays Singapore; Jaya Dass, Associate Director of Recruitment and Human Resources Services Provider, Randstad

Images: Pablo Hidalgo / 123RF.com
Text: Aretha Loh / Her World March 2015
Additional text: Hidayah Idris

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