Thursday, December 10, 2009

Crisis - How do you deal with it?

A crisis can either paralyse you with fear or energise you to make a change going forward.

This week we have had to deal with a major crisis that fortunately will not have as much impact as we first thought it would have. Also the team came out the other side with a clearer understanding and sense of purpose than what we had before the crisis hit.

So what did we do to get through?
  1. Called a crisis meeting. All the parties involved were called in. Not just the persons who may have appeared to have been at fault but a wider selection of people. Those persons who were also able to solve the situation.

  2. Focused on the issue at hand. Move away from finger pointing, blaming others or trying to apportion responsibility to a person. Rather focus on fixing the problem.

  3. Made action plans. Every person in the meeting left with a sense of direction about what would be done to solve the situation. Every person will also be held accountable for their assigned tasks to ensure they are completed correctly.

  4. Created procedures and protocols. Solving the problem faced once is not good enough. Creating levers and establishing communication links for the future is the ultimate outcome.

  5. Reflected. There were a whole bunch of people who - missed it. We all missed the error and didn't fully appreciate the outcomes of our decisions. Through reflection we are able to ensure (as well as we can) that we will not knowingly make the same mistakes again.

  6. Came clean. Our boss went and spoke to the CEO as soon as we knew what was happening and was able to - build credibility (integrity and honesty) and take some of the heat out of the situation.

Don't get me wrong. There was a crisis and there is some fallout as a result. However given the fact that we dealt with it - early, with everyone and can move forward - we all get to sleep better at night as a result.

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