Don’t Fear the Unknown. Anticipate it!

Anticipate the Unknown.png, risk, spooky window

My philosophy for productive, happy, and more efficient workplaces has a heavy emphasis on planning, preparation, and problem solving. In one word, my approach can be described as proactive. (I swear I was not planning to rely so heavily on alliteration when I started writing this post.)

In many aspects of our lives, it makes sense to be reactive. We acquire tastes, preferences, and hobbies based on discovering something we like and then learning more about it. You might hear a new song playing over the credits of a movie, decide you like it, and then spend the next month learning everything there is to know about that artist or genre of music. Or if your child is diagnosed with a particular type of ear infection you’d never heard of, you might go online and read all the articles and blogs about this type of infection. In these circumstance, it is logical to wait until a something happens -  or until an opportunity arises - to learn about something new, and then decided what action to take.

In the instances above, there is little harm or risk in the unknown: the potential negative consequences of not knowing anything about a particular music genre or kind of ear infection before it pops up in your life are negligible.  

In order to run an effective and healthy workplace, however, you can’t afford to ignore the unknowns, and take the “I’ll just deal with it if/when it becomes an issue” approach. The risks are too great.

Take this case study about development of the project management reports, in which the project leads received no information about contract requirements, budget, and expenditures. The potential loss of revenue from contracts going over budget could have been devastating to the company if they hadn’t implemented a more proactive way of comparing actual to budgeted labor hours and costs for ongoing projects.

Or think about how much product was lost in the chocolate factory because there was no system of monitoring either the performance of new hires Lucy and Ethel nor the output of the production line. If a workplace waits until there is a disaster to implement some quality management practices, there’s no telling how much loss they may face before the problem comes to light.

Finally, think about the potential consequences for failing to take the necessary legal or financial precautions in the workplace. From lawsuits over mishandling of an employee issue to huge penalties for incomplete reporting of income, ignoring the things you don’t understand or find intimidating leave you vulnerable to big trouble

The good news is you don’t need to become an expert yourself. The key is finding a professional you trust who can help you get familiarized with the basics for compliance and prevention, and who can answer any questions or resolve any issues before they come up. Anticipation and preparation to the rescue!