Dealing With a Crisis

Crisis: /ˈkrʌɪsɪs/ a time of intense difficulty or danger

We are facing unprecedented times. The current worldwide events are unlike anything that we have ever experienced or could have imagined. If we spent 30 seconds focusing on the definition of crisis, I think we would all agree that there is little doubt that we are now in the midst of a very real and global crisis. The purpose of this blog is to therefore offer a simple framework that might help us navigate through these challenging times. Remember, as John Maxwell said “a crisis doesn’t make us; it reveals us!” During these times we learn a lot about:

a) Ourselves
b) People immediately around us
c) People we work with and the world at large

“A crisis doesn’t make us, it reveals us.”

I’ve been working with a number of leaders over the past three weeks using a new simple framework that I have developed. The main objective of this framework is to help leaders navigate through the current crisis and have a simple message to communicate to their teams. The crucial underpinning theme beneath this whole framework is awareness. A heightened sense of awareness is one of the key survival techniques in these times and it will enable us to address the three core elements of this model:

• Acceptance

• Adaptation

• Ambition

1) Acceptance

We’ve all heard the sayings; “It is what it is” or “We are where we are.” As glib as these sayings can sometimes appear, when we stop and think about them they are actually quite salient. We have to be clear about what we can and can’t control. As humans we like to be able to control things. However, as uncertainty increases our ability to control decreases. The result of this is that our levels of anxiety, worry and fear increase exponentially. It is important to focus on what we can control; control the controllable. And the things over which we have no control? To quote the famous anthem from the Frozen movie, Let It Go!

“As uncertainty increases, our ability to control decreases.”

2) Adaptation

Once we have accepted our circumstances we need to adapt to our new reality. There is a golf adage that talks about adjusting our way to success. This is crucial during crisis, because things will have to change. Adjustments will almost certainly be needed and it’s true, some people will need to adjust more than others. But how do we know what the right personal adjustments are for us? This is when experimentation comes into play and we trial different methods. This trial and error process will enable us to understand what is needed from us as individuals and what works in our leadership of those around us. Then and only then can we effectively adapt. Central to this are two key aspects in my view. We must adapt and shift the way we think about our lives, or our business (or ideally both!). Once we’ve done this we can adapt and shift the way we act.

“Adapt and shift the way we think…and act”

This altering of our practice, both mentally and physically, will be what gets us through these times. Being shocked into a state of trance or retreating to a safe place just won’t cut it in during a crisis. We have to lead. Whether a fully operating publicly listed company, a furloughed workforce, a locked-down sports team, school or your family – this is courageous leadership in action and doing what we’ve always done isn’t going to get us through this. We need to adapt!

3) Ambition

Just because we are in a crisis, doesn’t mean our standards should slip. As Tony Robbins said, “We get what we tolerate.” We need this ambition and belief that we will get through these times and come out the other side. Our ambition should coexist with aspiration and drive us to be the very best that we can be. We are leading people through this crisis and as Napoleon was famously quoted as saying, “Leaders are dealers in hope”. Whatever we believe are the values and behaviours to making us good leaders, they are never going to be as important to us as they are now in giving hope to those around us. No matter what, keep both your expectations and standards high.

“Leaders are dealers in hope”

So in summary:

Accept it
Adapt yourself and your practice
Ambition is the key to keeping going

Awareness Remember, this underpins all of the above!

If you would like to discuss the above framework or have any other issues you would like to discuss, please get in touch via the information in our Contact page.