Leadership Blog

How To Use Roadblocks As A Jumping-Off Point To Learn And Grow

Literal or figurative, roadblocks are a way of life in business. As someone who has worked at every level of my company, I’ve faced them countless times. While it's never fun when life tosses a monkey wrench into your seemingly perfect plans, they can be springboards for innovation, creativity, and success.

Take my recent travel experience to Florida for a huge conference, for example. Not only did I miss my departing flight to Orlando, but I had to wait four hours to board the next plane. Once I made it to Orlando, I dashed to the hotel to discover I wasn’t just at the wrong venue — I was in the wrong city. It turns out I should have been in Fort Lauderdale, which was more than 200 miles away.

Long story short, I ended up taking a three-hour Uber drive to my destination (props to my talkative Uber driver, Elvis). Although it was hardly the stumble-free business trip I had planned, I never allowed the experience to consume me fully. By rolling with the punches and laughing at the ridiculousness of it all, I ended up no worse for the wear.

Certainly, not all roadblocks are such an easy fix. Years ago, a buyer with a large account asked us to develop new products. After spending months in consumer research and design, we presented the results. Regrettably, the buyer had moved away from the department without telling us, leaving us holding the bag — and products the client no longer needed. It certainly wasn't ideal, but even significant and costly problems like that rarely ruffle me because I’ve learned that nothing in business is assured.