All of us at some point in life go through crisis, and our businesses are no different: some times it is an identity crisis and you have to rebrand, some times a culture crisis and you have to rethink and adjust, some times it is a financial crisis, and you have to re strategize, innovate, find funds, make it profitable again.
Fact is, very few of us really prepare for crisis – we hope that they don’t happen and when they do (we are not surprised, just in denial) we are not ready, we do not have a game plan, don’t know what to do.
It is much easier to go through a crisis, or to get out of it if you prepared yourself even for the unknown.
I am not saying that you will know exactly what to do every time you face crisis – otherwise you would probably be able to avoid them – but if you have your game plan, you can adjust it according to the actual core of the crisis, with the resources you have available or can make available at the time.
Here are some insights to prepare and get to the other side of the crisis quickly and stronger:
1- Identify the core of the crisis – some times the real reason for the crisis is not what it immediately appears. Make sure to be able to know all the whys and hows.
2- Keep control: if you are not able to keep control when facing crisis, you might make it even stronger: good morale and balance will help all your team go through it.
3- Communicate: your team deserves to know what is going on. When you convey the reasons for the crisis and your game plan right after, you will make your employees feel more confident and focused to work towards the solution.
4- Brainstorm: even if you have a game plan, it is important to brainstorm with your team, first because they might have insights, see the crisis with different eyes, and second because they will feel included and valued, and again, morale will help keep their focus and balance.
5- Don’t rush to a permanent solution: some times you need to patch the holes before rebuilding the whole wall. Also, using some quick temporary fixes, and celebrating the small achievements trigger the perception of progress, of giving a step in the right direction.
6- Be positive: attitude is everything, or if it is not, is definitely contagious, and keeping the spirit up will only help to see the glass half full.
7- Keep a routine: you might have to do some “emergency fixes”, to change gears, to consider different angles, but you should still keep your teams’ routine – it will give them the perception of normality and security. Everyone knows the company is in crisis, but it is still there and can snap out of it – it is amazing what a motivated, committed and loyal team can do for your company.
8- Show your loyalty: your team needs to know that despite the crisis, you are there for them and with them – you will not be the captain abandoning the ship!
9- Can’t find your way of the crisis (despite of all the prep plan you had)? Seek external help, bring an expert (and let your team know about your new plans).
10- Do not let your internal crisis reflect on your customers: they were the core of your business and you will need them during and after the transition. Your customers should always be untouchable.
Crisis come and go and are basically part of the business life. Prepare for it, be positive about the process and turn crisis into opportunities.
Rahm Emanuel, the 55th Mayor of Chicago once said: “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before”.
And that is so very true: adversity can create lots of opportunities, challenges can bring the best in every person and positive attitude can trigger positive results.