Skills Spot – How To Effectively Manage A Crisis
Unless you are the luckiest person alive that has ever lived you will almost certainly, at some point in time, be faced with managing a crisis. When all of the badness of a crisis descends you can be sure that people around you, colleagues, staff or onlookers, will be fascinated to see how you deal with it and what you do.
Often those faced with a crisis manage the way out of what looks like a very difficult situation with skill and calmness but this can only ever be the result of a logical, step-by-step process executed in a highly measured manner.
Crisis management highlights just how good you are as a leader. Or not.
Follow the steps below and you have more than a good chance of the organisation, and you, emerging with some credibility.
- Sit back as coolly as you can and assess the situation. You may have to go through the analytical and diagnostic process twice as fast as usual, but make sure you do it. You need to establish what is happening, why it is happening, what is likely to happen if nothing is done about it, who is involved and how quickly you have to act to avoid further damage.
- Draw up a preliminary plan of action and think of contingencies for all eventualities.
- Line up a crisis management team, allocating roles and authorities to act – you may have to give emergency authority to some people.
- Set up a crisis management centre – your office or the boardroom, for example.
- Lighten the load wherever possible – get rid of any peripheral problems and shift anything non-essential on to the back burner to be dealt with at leisure.
- Prepare detailed step-by-step plans which include definite timescales, scope for a cooling off period and longer-term solutions.
- Monitor exactly what is happening. Getting quick and accurate information is vital if you are to react in a timely and appropriate manner.
- Keep evaluating your reactions, so you can modify the plan and take corrective steps as and when necessary.
Keep calm, maintain your focus, be aware of the Adrenalin flowing, resist the temptation to start shooting from the hip and keep checking on what is actually happening.
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