You are missing an opportunity.
That colleague you were relying on didn’t get their part of the assignment done in time. And it caused chaos on your whole project.
The instinct is to curse the colleague, blame them, and focus on the errors of the situation and of others.
And we stay in the present – focusing only on what went wrong and who’s fault it was. And in the process, lose sight of our own impact.
How frustrating to feel so little control. To feel the situation is out of our hands and that someone else blew an opportunity for us.
And here’s where the opportunity is so often missed. To allow yourself to be powerless.
There is another option. We can look elsewhere. And it can be scary, but it is liberating.
We do have control. We could assert a little more influence. We can prevent that same mishap from happening again.
It starts by taking on some responsibility. It starts by evaluating what went wrong, and what can be done to nudge the project in the right direction the next time.
Notice – to get out of the present, we have to focus on the future. Focus on what we can do differently the next time.
So where do you start? Asking a lot of questions.
Where are the weak spots? Where could the project fail? Are there patterns in behavior that tend to lead to a certain outcome? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each team member, and how can we align the projects assigned to them with their skillset?
Start with broad questions, and start to hone in to more specific questions as you gain some clarity. You will start to drill down to questions about individual team members.
As an example, could you have checked in with the colleague a week before the due date to make sure they are on track? Would one last team meeting a few days before the deadline help work some of these kinks out?
Focus on what you can control. You have the ability to make a difference. Get out of the present and focus on changing the future. The part we can control is our reaction and our response.
Are you in control or are you powerless? The choice is up to you.