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BMD Editors

 Treat failure as temporary setback.

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Your organization downsized last year, closed its telemarketing center and hired an outside call center instead. This year, sales slumped 6 percent. Around the water cooler, folks are saying it’s because “management” fired the experienced phone reps.

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To see how well your organization deals with your customers’ orders, needs and problems, invest an hour each month “walking in their shoes." 

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In a meeting last year, CEO Jan W. found herself in an awkward situation. “My whole sales staff was talking and talking about an account that they thought was critical,” she says. “I didn’t know anything about the account, and I was too embarrassed to admit it.”

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How do you know if you need to stretch? Ask yourself these questions:

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Leaders stay levelheaded in the face of a crisis. Instead of panicking, they grasp facts quickly and make order out of chaos.
 

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Successful music writer and performer Missy Elliott clearly has a large creative streak. But working as a producer for the stars (Whitney Houston, to name one) is what earned her reputation as an executive leader.

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Linus Torvalds makes an unlikely leader. The inventor of Linux, the open-source operating system now used by more than 18 million people, is disorganized and absent-minded.

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In certain desperate times, you can plan only your first move carefully. Then, you must count on yourself to handle whatever comes up.   

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Use this four-step method advocated by Robert Knowling, former head of high-speed Internet provider Covad Communications, to help your team build a vision of its success:

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