“Be prepared” is the official motto of the Girl Guides, but the phrase works just as well in business, too. When you are caught off-guard with an unexpected situation or a difficult task on the job, you want to be able to offer the most effective response and work efficiently through any challenge.
Having backup plans for various unforeseen situations can help you to stay calm and poised on the job, no matter what roadblocks come up in your workday. Maintaining such control in the face of the unexpected will allow your Executive Presence to shine through on a regular basis.
Here are three backup plans you may consider adopting for those unexpected moments on the job.
- Backup Plan #1: Make Technology Work for You
Even as technology continues to advance and become more user-friendly, you can never fully trust that it will perform without a hitch. Whenever you need to rely on technology, ensure that you have multiple options if one method fails.
For example, before giving a presentation, save your slideshow in multiple locations and formats. If a file is corrupted or accidentally deleted from a USB key, you can quickly refer to another version that you have saved in a cloud format, such as Dropbox or Google Drive. If you present using notes from a tablet, consider printing your notes in hard copy format alongside the digital version. This will allow for a backup plan if your tablet runs out of batteries or cannot connect to the Internet.
- Backup Plan #2: Maintain Your Best Image
While you can leave the house looking put-together and professional, you never know what might happen on the way to work or at the office. Poor weather, spills, or accidental rips or tears can throw a wrench into your business attire.
To prevent one of these elements from ruining your professional image, keep an extra pressed shirt or sweater in your desk drawer at the office. It will not take up much space, and could save you a trip home or to the store during your lunch break in the face of an attire mishap.
Also consider keeping a spare jacket or blazer in the office closet. This will allow you to quickly adopt a business formal look, in the event that a significant client or partner unexpectedly arrives at the office or an impromptu formal dinner is scheduled.
- Backup Plan #3: Consider Multiple Options for Solving Issues
When it comes to solving an issue with a colleague or trying to resolve a difficult negotiation, the mindset that there is only “one way out” can cause undue stress – especially when the negotiation heads in the opposite direction of your desired path.
Always approach a problem with several backup plans or multiple options to solve it. Providing various choices will help you to build a relationship with the other party, as it shows your dedication to solving an issue with the interests of both parties in mind.
Also, multiple options can relieve the pressure of working toward an ultimatum, allowing you to maintain a cool head or “grace under fire” – an example exhibiting gravitas, a key component of Executive Presence.
No matter in which industry or position you work, there is always the possibility of unexpected situations arising on the job. What kinds of backup plans do you have in place to deal with them?