Make it work!


Anyone who watched Project Runway heard Tim Gunn say those words at least once if not more in every single episode. Sounds simple enough, right? Not always.

Too often when faced with a challenging situation, the tendency is to rattle off all the reasons it won’t work. And when you are working with a team – all it takes is one reason why something can’t be done to make those negatives multiply tenfold. 

It seems now more than ever considering the unusual circumstances of the times, that finding a way to “make it work” takes on an even more significance. Needless to say, “business as usual” is not something associated with 2020. And it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon. So, we adjust and find new ways to do things. And maybe that’s a good thing.

Here's my approach - don’t tell me why it won’t work or can’t be done, tell me how it CAN.  Don’t talk about why you can’t contact your customers now, figure out how you can. Don’t focus on what your competition is doing wrong; focus on what your company is doing right. Focus on what you CAN do.

Easy? Absolutely not! But it works.

Let me give you an example.  At one time I was an administrative liaison for a group of volunteers who were hosting a big fundraising event.  At noon – the day of the event – the event coordinator quit.  She left a note in my mailbox. No explanation, no notes, no contacts, just the keys to the event room. Perfect.  Guess just how long it took for that information to circulate among the masses?  In a matter of what seemed like only minutes, my office was filled with panicking volunteers all preparing for inevitable doom.

We gathered to regroup. Everyone said something and it was ALL negative. After about ten minutes of that (which I realized was ten minutes too much), I said STOP!  Cancelling the event was NOT an option, so what could we do? Silence; total, utter, deafening silence. Then one brave soul said well we could do this…, and that’s all it took. The ball was rolling. Rolling slowly but in the right direction. Okay, you know where this is going, and you are right. Thanks to a shift in thinking and some dedicated volunteers, the event went off without a hiccup. It was more than a financial success. It was a team success. This team took ownership, overcame the challenges, and made it work.

Maybe during these challenging times it’s up to all of us to “make it work.”

Posted by MJ Thomas


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