The panic fades. The adrenaline filters out of your bloodstream. You’ve survived a business emergency, and now it’s time to get back to normal operations. But, as the saying goes, you should never waste a good crisis. Instead, you want to use the situation to make your company better and stronger for the future.
In the current economic situation, this isn’t just a theoretical discussion. Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost every company will be emerging from some level of crisis. The lessons these firms take away will be critical for how they function going forward. It will define whether the business can thrive in the new economy, and potentially determine whether the firm will survive the next crisis.
So how do you do this? How do you leverage a crisis to become a better company?
Here are a few steps to keep in mind:
Solve the Crisis First
You can’t discuss the moral of the story if you’re still in the middle of reading it. You have to wait to see how it ends. The same is true about learning lessons from a crisis. In the moment, your priority should be clear: survive the situation.
While the crisis is ongoing, concentrate on a solution. Avoid discussions of blame. Once you have resolved the situation, there will be plenty of time for review and reflection. At that point, you can look to better your company for the long term.
Define the Problem
In the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to discern what exactly is happening. Conditions change quickly in a crisis, and often the root causes can remain obscure.
Once you’ve safely passed the dangerous situation, put together a coherent story about what happened. Study the conditions that lead to the crisis. From there, you can determine how to overcome similar challenges in the future. Or, better yet, you can figure out how to sidestep those scenarios altogether.
Evaluate Your Response
What did you do to solve the crisis once it started? How well did those solutions work? These questions will help evaluate your in-the-moment reactions to the situation.
Prepare a rational, objective review of your response to the crisis. Pinpoint the things that went well, and the reactions that could be improved next time.
Again, don’t focus on blame. You’re not looking to find scapegoats…you’re looking to upgrade your response next time.
Remember: crises are emotional situations. Tempers flare, and frustrations boil over. Don’t let this emotional baggage color your review of the situation. Don’t hold grudges against members of your team, and don’t let your emotional response obscure meaningful solutions for the future.
It’s an age-old expression: hindsight is 20/20. However, with the right analysis, you can turn that hindsight into foresight.
Think about what else you could’ve done during the crisis. Without time pressures and the stress of a frantically unfolding situation, you should be able to conceive of alternative solutions that weren’t immediately obvious in the moment. These might help you plan a better response next time.
Watch Out for the Wrong Lessons
It’s easy to overreact to a crisis situation. A sudden shortage in inventory might lead you to overstock in the future. A bad hire might make you too cautious to add staff the next time around.
In other words, don’t overreact, and be careful not to learn the wrong lessons from a crisis. Include other people in your review, so you get more perspectives on the situation. Also, be prepared to reevaluate your findings as new evidence comes to light, or as circumstances evolve over time.
Create an Action Plan
Have a clear deliverable in mind when you begin your review. Remember: your goal is to create a response plan in case a future emergency. You want a step-by-step guide ready the next time a tense situation arises.
Surviving a crisis gets easier when you have the right employees in place. A strong team can deliver innovative, inventive solutions, even in tense situations. Partnering with a strong recruiter, like SmartTalent, will let you have the right workers on staff when you need them most.
Contact SmartTalent today to learn more.