Managing in a crisis, and managing a crisis sound similar, but trust me they are two different animals. I say this because not only do I have experience in both, it’s also a forte of mine. Not only have I been there when they occurred, but I’ve also been the one who receives the call when someone is needed to turn it around. So my advice comes from experience in the moment, not from conjecture or theoretical hypothesis. That said, in moments of crisis remember…
1. The people you need the most to help you, have a B.S. meter that can detect indecision a mile away, and in moments of crisis it gets amplified. Don’t try to B.S. them.
2. Don’t try to calm peoples fears by taking credit for things that only worked out because of sheer luck. People will stop listening, and start playing a game of I can get out of here before you do.
3. Don’t make speeches, or state to the crowd that what you’re doing is delegating the appraisal of the crisis to subordinates so they can brief you 30 days later. In 30 days, there might be nothing left to fix.
4. Don’t publicly state the whom, their title, and their responsibility, or the time you are allowing for review. You are announcing to the same people who if something else goes wrong, you’re probably going to blame them.
5. True crisis management dictates, everybody’s job and title is on the line, including your own. You have to be willing, and you must have the where with all to move, hire, and fire anybody. Yes, anybody!
6. If 10 things are going awry at the same time, ( crisis has a way of doing just that) don’t appear to be unaware of the other crisis. Acknowledge it, demonstrate how it’s being handled, and briefly explain why it’s important you have your best people there with their expertise to solve it, and not you. Don’t appear to be fixated on what you think is important. Others both inside and outside will only see mayhem in the most generalized views. Remember, 5 fires, one being very big, one being small are seen by others as only one very big crisis. People want confidence and results, not explicit details on your management style.
There are more, but that’s a thumbnail sketch. Stop yourself from doing anyone of these listed, and you’ll have a head start on solving the crisis, instead of just trying to manage it.