Create a crisis

One strategy to get a stalled organization moving is creating a crisis.

Webster says a crisis is, “The point of time when it is to be decided whether any affair or course of action must go on, or be modified or terminate…”

The leadership team I work with recently created a crisis by setting a deadline.  After months of pursuing a desirable solution to a pressing problem, we drew a line in the sand.  Here’s what we said to our organization.

If we cannot find the property we desire by July 1, we will accept a less desirable, temporary option.  Furthermore, by August 9 we plan to vacate this property and move into the best available location.  July 1 arrived and the solution we hoped to find didn’t materialize.  We identified a less desirable solution and moved on schedule.

It turns out the less desirable option has many advantages.  It’s not perfect.  It’s creating discomfort.  But, it freed us from a strangling bottleneck and presents new exciting opportunities.

Seven suggestions for crisis makers:

  1. Be willing to fail miserably and understand consequences can be fatal
  2. Be up front with everyone (never deceive)
  3. Only create a crisis if your mission and vision are in peril
  4. Don’t even think about it unless trust runs like a river through your organization – its going to be tough even with trust
  5. Stick to your word
  6. During the crisis act humbly, confidently, and compassionately
  7. Acknowledge the negative while focusing on opportunities

Leaders reach higher by creating a crisis that defeats stagnation

What other suggestions do you have for creating a crisis?  What other dangers?

Disclaimer:  As with all Leadership Freak blogs this is only my opinion.  I don’t know your circumstances. I’m not encouraging you to create a crisis.  I’m saying we did and in this case it worked.

Leadership Freak

Dan Rockwell