Steer into the Skid

By: Lovette Curry

When learning how to drive, one of the most important lessons is what to do when you begin to lose control of the vehicle.  When you hit a patch of ice or a slick spot in the road, you need to “turn into the skid.  This seems like terrible advice when you first hear it.  Your natural inclination is to turn away from the danger, to move your vehicle the opposite way of the chaos.  However, to get the car back under control you must turn into the skid.  You have to train your mind and prepare in advance so you can remain in control of your vehicle.  This lesson holds true for business as well.

Oftentimes, the best way to deal with a crisis or unexpected event at work is to face it directly.  Recently, due to the unexpectedly treacherous ice storm of 2015 the NCE office was at a standstill.  No one could get into the building and our students/ instructors certainly could not come to class.  Our offices were closed for seven business days!  This closure, along with the weather, is not the norm for Nashville in late February.  This unanticipated weather event had a dramatic impact on our yearly schedule, and thus, impacted all of our teachers and students.  As an office, we had to “turn into the skid”.

Immediately, our team had to implement our communications plan for weather closures.  We contacted all of our teachers and students to inform them of the closures on email, television, social media, telephone, and our website.  After the initial class cancellation communication, we immediately began to work with our instructors to build a make-up schedule for the classes.  Our team implemented our plan with precision each day, until we were back to our normal schedule.

Due to our planning, we could turn into the skid instead of blindly reacting to this unanticipated situation.   Our preparation allowed us to quickly communicate schedule changes with all of our key stakeholders.

Three lessons to remember for dealing with the unexpected

  • Have a plan.  Life happens, emergencies happen.  Build a plan and try to prepare for a variety of situations.
  • When the unexpected happens, don’t reinvent the wheel. Go to your plan and implement with flexibility based on the situation
  • Turn into the skid. Face this challenge head on knowing that you are prepared and capable.

Thank you NCE students, instructors, and staff for turning into the skid with us as we faced icepocalypse 2015.

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