Every day, business owners/managers face tough situations. Maybe a competitor hires one of your key people. An employee rolls a company vehicle down an embankment, totaling the vehicle and knocking down an electricity pole. Or, you leave costs out of an estimate and realize the job will incur a loss. Sound familiar? What is your initial reaction? I suspect we fear the worst will happen.
People believe the extremes are the truth. The extreme causes us to fear. Our fear is of the unknown, not the known. Once we have knowledge, we begin to deal with fear. When we act based upon knowledge, we begin to defeat fear. When we complete the action, we defeat fear and build confidence.
Positive realism is analyzing what is the worst that will happen and what is the best that will happen. The final result will be somewhere between the extremes.
Will we lose business because the salesperson went to a competitor? Possibly. Can the salesperson be replaced? Probably. Replace the salesperson and mitigate the damage.
Will the accident cause our insurance premium to rise? Probably. Can the vehicle be replaced? Yes. Is the employee alright? Thankfully, yes. Buy a more fuel-efficient replacement vehicle, and lower long-term costs.
Will a loss on this job bankrupt the company? Probably not. When we complete the job, even at a loss, will our customer be satisfied? Probably. Is there a way we can reduce the loss and possibly break even or create a small profit? Possibly. Will we have a chance to recoup some of the loss with this customer in the future? Yes.
In each of these cases, I knew how to handle the situation. I did not go to the extreme and dwell on the worst case scenario. However, just having knowledge is not enough. I acted on my knowledge and my fear of the outcome evaporated.
Two rules: Knowledge overcomes fear. Action cures fear.
The author is president of Evans Glass Co., and chairman-elect of the National Glass Association. Write him at email@example.com.
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.