Tag: Emotions

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.

Embrace Gratitude

Embrace Gratitude

Embrace Gratitude. Simple words in this time of Thanksgiving. This Thursday we will gather around tables small and large, and reflect if only for a moment, on the kindness and blessing in our lives. We will share food and fellowship. Football games will be won and lost. Turkeys stuffed. Vegetables roasted. Pies baked and meals blessed.

Studies show that when we embrace gratitude as a daily practice, we have more positive emotions, we sleep better and feel more alive. In turn, we express more compassion and kindness to others. When we do embrace gratitude, we turn from the discouraging towards the encouraging.

A daily practice of gratitude. Sit quietly in the early morning light and reflect upon the kindness and blessings in your life. Or in the warmth of the bedroom at night, write in a journal the goodness and blessings that have been granted to you. Or before a meal, take a moment to express the kindness and blessings of the day.

Share Gratitude: The essence of gratitude is that it is meant to be shared with those who have bestowed kindness and grace upon us. In this busy, hectic, self-indulgent world, we forget to pause and thank one another for their efforts for us, for their attention to us, for their love of us. Gratitude is not measured in syllables; it is measured in connection.

Some simple guidelines allow our gratitude to be felt:

  • Express gratitude when you feel gratitude. Don’t hesitate until a perfect time, do it at the moment. The flip side of this is not to express gratitude if you don’t feel gratitude. People will see you are insincere.
  • Be full-throated: A quick thank you may leave the recipient puzzled about your intent. Be specific as possible. Instead of saying, “Thank you for all that you do for me,” say, “Thank you so much for helping with Project A, especially your insights into how to improve delivery.” Gratitude is a deep rich feeling and should be expressed as such.
  • Reach the recipient. In today’s world, we have a thousand ways of communicating with each other. What I have found is that when I include gratitude in group communications be it a town hall, social media posts or an email, the impact on the recipient is lost. A direct connection between my gratitude and the recipient is best. This includes an e-card, handwriting thank you note or a personal conversation.

I worked with a leader who would send handwritten thank-you notes to her staff when she was grateful for a job well done. Walking around the office, I noticed that these cards lingered in their workspaces for weeks, if not months, after being received. What a measurable impact this leader was having on her team.

Embracing gratitude is the act of appreciation for the kindness and blessings in our lives. It allows us to focus on the hope instead of the fear. It allows us to welcome the possibilities of the future. It allows us to know we are not alone in our journey.

Embrace Gratitude.