5 Ways to Turn Into the Next Storm
It’s smooth sailing now. But, I feel a knot forming in my gut. Even optimists know sunny skies grow dark quickly.
Plans derail. Teams implode. Results disappoint. Talent moves on. Mistakes escalate.
Leaders matter when disruption, distress, and fear crash in.
Dive into waves or be crushed.
The opportunity of crisis is its ability to soften crusty leaders and stiff organizations. New behaviors, processes, and people emerge.
Opportunities vanish when leaders cling to the past during crisis.
Crisis is opportunity to move forward creatively. But, ships sink when organizations refuse to adapt and grow.
5 ways to turn into the next storm:
Recall how you navigated stormy seas in the past. Stand up and confidently proclaim, “We rose to past challenges. I believe we’ll rise to this one. I need you to pull together again.”
Reflect on lessons learned from past storms.
- What did you do well?
- Where did you stumble?
- Who rose up?
- How will you face this new challenge?
Crisis clarifies what matters.
Crisis provides courage and motivation to reject “good” ideas and reconnect with essentials.
Ask people to take on new responsibilities. They may make profound contributions. Temporary shifts may stabilize into permanent roles that provide greater fulfillment. If not, when the storm passes, send them back to original positions.
Seek new talent, both internal and external. Is someone waiting for the opportunity to make a difference?
Crisis makes you better when you turn toward it, not away.
5 quick tips for navigating storms:
- Set your priorities.
- Develop and explain plans.
- Clarify what doesn’t matter.
- Track progress.
- Go public. Neglect the temptation to clam-up and hunker-down. Show up and walk around, instead.
What have you learned in storms about yourself, others, or organizations?
How can leaders turn into the next storm?
If you’re sailing you won’t outrun the storm. Face it sooner rather than later; get through the leading edge. It will pass. Even if it’s a hurricane.
Thanks Douglas. Can’t outrun the storm. It’s so true. It might be tempting to put things off or try to avoid. Best to face it. Good call.
Love this. Gonna share it. Q: Does #4 and/or five have anything to do with picking a new guy or picking out a scapegoat? Seems that is also what happens in a crisis. Blame someone or sacrifice someone. Mayb a good topic for later 😉
Thanks Spotmagicsolis. Interesting idea. I included #4 and #5 to encourage us to focus on people. I think we get so consumed with the waves that we loose sight of the most important decisions, after setting direction. Those decisions are people decisions.
I’m glad you brought up scapegoating. Pointing fingers only amplifies fear. Ugh!
Yes! And having scared employees and/or partners are the opposite of running a well-balanced and continually, achieving enterprise. Thank you.
Where’d your site go?
Good one. Our Prime Minister should take heed…
Thanks Rajiv. Happy New Year.
It seems that many organizations, especially Government, seek to avoid the storm or pretend it is not there. Along with the lessons of this post is the principle of creating an organization that recognizes that’s storms do exist and to prepare for the storm. The tips for navigating a storm a brilliant, and if expertly applied an organization is going to come out of a storm better than when it entered.
Thanks Mycal. I understand the need to NOT MAKE WAVES. But, organizations are better when leaders point out issues with optimism. “This isn’t right. We can be better.”
Perhaps one of the issues is being afraid that someone will be offended if theirs a problem in their area.
How we point out problems or issues is important to the process. Blame doesn’t help.
Dan, the suggestion to show up makes a lot of sense here. An absent leader or manager – especially in a crisis – will slowly start to lose touch with their people.
Thanks pmphacks. The temptation to avoid people is huge when things are going wrong. Just goes to show that sometimes leading is doing things that feel uncomfortable. Perhaps, planning responses to questions and concerns helps a little.
If it’s your first storm ask for help, admit if you made a mistake in judgement or planning, do what you need to weather the storm and move on. If you repeatedly keep getting into storms, identify the pattern, realign as you mention, reassign if needed, face the customer head on and clean things up. no matter what the cost!
You still have to make it right to all parties involved. Storms do pass, but the damage may not be repairable if you continue to experience storms and fail to identify the common causes your ship will never sail the way you want.
Kaching!! Thanks for the great insights.
“..for now, we’re not going to focus there..”
I like your >clarify what doesn’t matter< a step I've found easy to miss, especially in matters that draw large emotional tolls.When things create more heat than light, I know I need to sharpen my focus and resize my path…
This article hit home for me. It has given me new tools use when storms arise. No. 4’s “Tracking progress” stood out the most for me. Without tracking progress you cannot see how far you’ve come through the process. It’s profound, and yet so simple.