How to Have Your Team Fix It Fast When Sh*t Hits the Fan

Have you ever seen the “Apollo 13” movie? If you have, you know what I’m talking about when I say that it really hit the fan in that movie! After they set out on a mission to the moon, an explosion changed everything, leaving the crew with no oxygen. But given the tools, power, and time frame, they were able to fix it fast, and the rest, as we know, is history!

One of the most memorable scenes in that movie is when the NASA director says, “This could be the worst disaster NASA’s ever faced,” and Ed Harris’s character replies by calmly saying, “With all due respect, sir, I believe this is gonna be our finest hour.” While the scenarios and problems may differ, this same attitude can, and should, be applied to unforeseen problems that happen in your own business.

Here is how you can effectively handle a big problem and get your team to fix it fast:


Explain the problem, being sure to give absolute clarity to the objective that must be accomplished. You will need to really spell it out and cover all bases, as some people may not be able to think of even the basics during high-stress situations.


It is important that you empower the team to make critical decisions. If you are micromanaging at this point, you will only hamper things. They need to know that you believe in them to get the job done, and that the power is in their hands to do what they need to in order to make it happen.

Time frame.

People usually work better when they know what the time frame is, so be clear about what needs to be accomplished and by when.


Let your crew know the benefit of solving the problem. This way, they can see the clear picture of why it is important to the company. If they know the benefits to the company, they may also see how it benefits them and their job.

Food and drink.

Let’s be honest, nothing is more distracting than trying to work while you are hungry. You can easily prevent the headaches, distractions and crankiness that come as a result of being hungry by keeping a steady stream of food and drink delivered to your team as they are tacking the problem at hand.


You’ll want to express appreciation for your team’s commitment to fixing the problem, both while they are working on it and after they are finished. This is the time that you want to focus on having an attitude of gratitude.


Once the problem has been resolved, always reward the folks who worked so hard to fix it. Give them well-deserved time off, or some other form of recognition.

There is a really good chance that your team can fix most, if not all, of the problems that come their way. And your job of being an effective leader is to get out of the way and let them do it. But before you do that, you need to make sure they have the things they need in order to pull it off. Given the right information, equipment and time frame, along with being empowered, the outlook is good that they will do it to your satisfaction.

Problems are bound to arise in your business, even really big ones. But being prepared, by knowing what to do, can help ensure that your team can see it through to a successful outcome. Even the biggest problem doesn’t have to become a disaster you face; it can actually turn out to be your team’s finest hour!


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