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by Randall Craig on August 12, 2009

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Management, Miscellaneous

Tagged as: , , ,

At any point in your life, have you ever found yourself backed into a corner, uncertain how you were going to proceed? It may have been a tough client, a project gone awry, a personal relationship gone sour, or maybe a financial crisis. When this happens, there are a number of common responses, some helpful, and others which are not.

Good responses:

  • Take personal responsibility, and be accountable for the situation. Admit that you’re wrong, and take your lumps as early as possible.
  • Let those impacted know as early as possible. (Especially your manager or clients.)
  • Reach out to colleagues, friends, and family for support.

Bad responses:

  • Compromise values: If you compromise your values, then you’ve “re-set” people’s expectations of what you would be willing to do in the future. Changing your values to get out of a tough spot might seem like an easy fix, but a reputation for dubious ethics will stick with you forever.
  • Be too easy to please. When this happens, you appear desperate. Others will be tempted to take advantage of the situation.

Of course, the best protection against tough situations is to avoid them altogether. Yet if we avoid all challenges, we will never grow. It is these experiences that strengthen us for even greater challenges, increase our value in the job market, and increase our personal equity with friends and family.

This week’s action item: Each day we are faced with situations that require our input. This week, before reacting to a tough situation, consider your options: what is the impact of each alternative? How might each impact your reputation over the longer term? Choosing an option from a list of alternatives will always produce better results than a decision made in haste.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)



Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

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