Tag: Change

Winning in Times of Crisis

Winning in Times of Crisis

Winning in Times of Crisis.

As a crisis response manager for a television network, I experienced dozens of crises during my tenure from in-studio floods, earthquakes, gas leaks, stalking of our on-air talent, power outages, winter storms, and even a deer crashing into our studios. Somes crisis lasted an afternoon, and others lasted months.

There are seven succinct steps you can take to win in times of crisis.

  1. Build a coalition of support: In a crisis, there will be hundreds of decisions and actions that will be necessary to make, too many for a singular person or team to do. Go beyond your organizational walls and tap into experts, business partners, and customers to develop a coalition of support that you can lean on to help make the right decisions.
  2. Know what recovery looks like for your organization*: By defining what recovery is for your organization, it will give you and your team clarity for the actions you need to take. Recovery isn’t just about the results you expect; it is also about the values you will use as guidance to achieve your goals. Those organizations that already have strong organizational values and a distinct, well-communicated vision, are those that will be most successful in a crisis.
  3. Develop a plan for stakeholders to follow: In a crisis, there are at least three stages to recovery; the crisis stage, the restoration stage, and the “normalcy” stage. Your goals should focus on reducing the impact of the crisis, improving organizational value, and celebrate your progress to normalcy. Every plan should consist of well-defined milestones to recovery and those individuals who are responsible for achieving the milestones. Because your employees are looking for guidance, providing them with benchmarks will give them steps they can take to be successful.  
  4. Consistently concise communication: In any crisis, uncertainty threatens recovery. In an emergency, people look to their leaders to calm their fears, give them direction, and to provide information. When there is a lack of communication, people naturally will fill the gap with misinformation or rumors. Messaging should address what you know, what you don’t know, and the next actions everyone should take. It should also tap into people’s intrinsic motivation by sharing stories from the frontline of the crisis.
  5. Empower Ownership: As stated earlier, there are hundreds of decisions that will be made during a crisis. A single person or even a leadership team can’t make all the decisions during an emergency. By demanding accountability from your stakeholders, you empower them to handle their assigned responsibilities. For your employees to be successful in a crisis, you will need to make sure you give them the knowledge, ability, and systems they need to handle their responsibilities.
  6. Celebrate Wins: This is particularly important during the restoration stage, where things are getting better due to the hard work and dedication of your team. Recognize their effort through celebration; it can be as simple as having pizza delivered, giving them gift certificates to a restaurant, or providing them with additional time off.  Research shows that marking progress with a celebration increases an individual’s motivation, builds a sense of community, and improves productivity.
  7. Do An After Action Report: Ask yourself these three questions;
    1. What did we do well?
    1. What did we not do well?
    1. What changes will we make in the future?

Note: In seven years as a Crisis Response Manager, each crisis was an opportunity for my team and me to improve our response. This simple activity of asking ourselves these three questions always lead to insights in which we put in place for the next crisis.

A crisis is a disruption in our routine. It makes us feel uncomfortable, anxious, concerned, and even fearful.  Yet, every time I was in a crisis, I saw ordinary people rise to the occasion, fight through their fears, put others before themselves, and do what was necessary to succeed.

These seven steps helped the organizations I guided during crisis come out on the other side stronger, better, and more prepared to handle whatever the world would throw at them. They will help you as well.

John

*Is it time to Pivot? We can find opportunity in a crisis to pivot to a new direction or handle a new role, or to provide a new-found service. I have heard hundreds of stories from organizational leaders how they pivoted during and after a crisis to improve their overall mission.

 John Thalheimer

Your Manager’s Guide to Excellence

At the intersection of performance, accountability, and inspiration.

Winning Crisis is now an interactive workshop to teach your managers how to lead in times of crisis. Contact John at John@johnthalheimer to bring this fun and interactive virtual seminar to your organization.

With over twenty-five years of experience working with supervisors, managers, and leaders to improve their performance, John Thalheimer understands the dangers of poor management, and the impact it has on organizations. His core belief is that every organization and every employee deserves great leadership. He works tirelessly to help supervisors and managers to be the best leaders they can be through interactive workshops and seminars, individualized coaching, and business masterminds.

The Importance of Routine

The Importance of Routine

It was Thursday Afternoon, and I was waiting for a manager I coached to arrive at the local coffee shop. It has been a good year for her. She managed a team of high-performing individuals and had focused on continually improving their performance, creating and changing processes to get better results. I was looking forward to our conversation.

As I waited, I noticed that a good portion of the customers were greeting each other by name, exchanging pleasantries and waving their goodbyes, saying they would see each other tomorrow. It was their afternoon routine.

The Manager arrived sitting heavily in the chair next to me. Apprehension showed on her face and in her body language. This wasn’t going to be the conversation I had imagined.

“I just reviewed the numbers. I wanted to give you an update, show you the improvement.”

A long pause as she gathered herself.

“Productivity is down ten percent from last month. And it’s not a blip; I looked at the previous week, it is down fifteen percent.”

“How is it year to date?”

“Still good we are up overall by twenty-five percent.”

“Good then?”

She smiled. She knew what I was doing, trying to get her to look at the big picture; to see the improvement in her team. What they had accomplished together.

“I am just frustrated that the team is losing their level of commitment to the new changes.”

“How does the team feel?”

“Frustrated, to be honest. They are complaining about the latest change. Too complicated they say.”

“Is it?”

“Not any more than the last few changes.”

“Maybe it’s not the change but the amount of change.”

“Huh?”

“Let me give you an example. Do you remember when they were working on the major interstate and each morning you had to take a different way into work?”

“Ugh. That was terrible. I could never get my rhythm in the morning. I felt out of sorts.”

“Yes. Each day there was a new change. You had to adjust.”

“I did. I had to watch the detour signs. In fact, it was so confusing; I turned off the radio so that I could concentrate on where I was going.”

I sipped my drink.

“Oh no. My employees are feeling confused. They are working harder when I told them they would be working smarter. They aren’t sure where they stand because our expectations are changing with each change.”

“And now what?”

“I need to work with my team to develop a routine so we can smooth things out and get them feeling better about the job they are doing.”

“So how are those numbers?”

She smiled.

With all the push for evolving, changing, progressing and growing our organizations, leaders have forgotten the importance of routine. Humans have a basic need for security and stability, to be able to forecast the possible future when change disrupts this, it makes us uncomfortable.

As a leader, I made touching base with my staff part of my daily routine. Each day, I set aside time to get out of my office and talk with my team. This method allowed me to see what their day was like, what challenges they were facing and how I could support them. Usually, there were little to no, short-term gains, i.e. there wasn’t anything I could do to support them at that particular moment, however in time, I learned who my employees were, saw trends impacting the business and was able to make better management decision based on this routine.

Routines are also beneficial to the productivity of your team as it provides them with a sense of security, a feeling of stability and increases their overall confidence. In a study done by Dinah Avni-Babad (2010), showed that individuals use routines to increase their sense of well-being.

Routine also allows for the automation of thought. The benefit of this can be seen in our average commute to work. As I used in the example with the manager I was coaching, her commute to work was disrupted by the road work. She had to increase her concentration, and she was continually out of sorts, emotionally tired. However, when the road work was done, and she was able to get back to her morning routine, her energy came back, and she was able to plan for her day as she drove into work.

In his book, Daily Rituals: How Artists work Author Mason Currey describes the importance of routines for some of our greatest thinkers. In one instance he talks about Benjamin Franklin, who at the end of each day asked himself “What good have I done today?” used a routine to make sure he was accomplishing all of his goals. His routine provided structure for his day. Like Einstein who wore the same clothes each day, Benjamin Franklin did not have to think about how his time would be spent and was able to focus on the work at hand.

When an individual creates a sense of well-being for themselves through routines, it offers an increase confidence. Allows them to project forward and create a sense of control over the future. It also gives them the platform to take risks, be creative, be innovative, and paradoxically challenge the status quo.

To recap routinely provides the following benefits:

  • Better sense of well-being
  • Increase focus on high priority tasks
  • Daily or weekly structure
  • Reduces distractions
  • Increases overall confidence
  • A platform for challenging the status quo.

When we realize the importance of routine on the individual, we can now appreciate why people are naturally resistant to change. We can also understand the importance of Change Management to help facilitate bringing an individual from their old routine to their new routine. Change Management is the framework that allows the organization to manage the people side of change. Without Change Management there is a greater risk that change initiative will fail.

Emotional Intelligence: Awareness

Emotional Intelligence: Awareness

A little more than a year ago, Jeff Lurie, the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles fired his head coach Chip Kelly before the end of the season, a rare act in the prestigious NFL football league. The reason Mr. Laurie gave for firing Mr. Kelly was Emotional Intelligence.

The term Emotional Intelligence has been used in the corporate world for years to help executive and managers to lead their organization better. It first became attention to the business community through the work of Daniel Goleman and his 1995 breakthrough book titled Emotional Intelligence.

According to Laura A. Belsten, Ph.D. of the Institute for Social & Emotional Intelligence, Social and Emotional Intelligence is the ability to be aware of our emotions and those of others, at the moment, and to use that information to manage ourselves and manage our relationships. Simply put Emotional Intelligence is your awareness of your emotions and making the appropriate behavioral choice for the situation.

As you define your goals for 2017, make sure to include increasing your Emotional Intelligence. The benefits include better relationships, handling change better, being a better leader and most importantly getting better results at work and home.

The first step to increasing your Emotional Intelligence is to become aware of your emotions and the behavioral choices you are making based on them.

One of the best ways to understand your emotions is to acknowledge the emotions you are experiencing. This can be done in a formal manner by writing down your emotions at regular intervals through the day. For example, in the morning, midmorning, early afternoon, later afternoon, after dinner and at bedtime. Or less formally you can recap your day writing down all the different emotions you experienced and when.

Secondly after acknowledging your emotions for a week or two, start to assessing when you are experiencing those different emotions. Do you consistently get anxious when meeting with your supervisor? Do you constantly feel grumpy when you first wake up? Are you happiest when you are making progress at work?

Now, think back to any behavior changes that can be contributed to those emotions. For instance, you tried to start your monthly results oriented staff meeting, and two of your managers came in fifteen minutes late. What emotions were you feeling? Were you frustrated; were you annoyed; were you incensed; did you feel disrespected?

How did you react? Did you berate them in from of your other staff? Did you ignore them to the detriment of the meeting? Later, did you cut them out of important decisions?

As the emotions and behaviors become more linked in your daily life, you can start making choices on how you want to handle certain situations. For instance, if you know when people are late to meetings, you will feel disrespected; you can make choices on how you want to react? You can get angry if you think that will benefit the situation but more likely, you can let the slight go at the moment and focus on the message you need to deliver.

This exercise takes practice and will not be easy at first but as time passes and you become more aware of your emotions you can start making better choices.

We are not sure what particular aspect of emotional intelligence Chip Kelly is missing. We do know that in the future that if Mr. Kelly works on his emotional intelligence, he can increase his performance; build a stronger relationship with his players; have the ability to handling conflicts and focus his energy on winning games.

If, in 2016, you would like to increase your emotional intelligence and achieve all the goals you have set for yourself, please reach out to me at john@o3consultingllc.com, or one of the many Institute of Social and Emotional Intelligence Coaches at ISEI.com.