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.

Crisis erupts.


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:

#1. Recall:

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.”

#2. Reflect:

Reflect on lessons learned from past storms.

  1. What did you do well?
  2. Where did you stumble?
  3. Who rose up?
  4. How will you face this new challenge?

#3. Realign:

Crisis clarifies what matters.

Crisis provides courage and motivation to reject “good” ideas and reconnect with essentials.

#4. Reassign:

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.

#5. Recruit:

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:

  1. Set your priorities.
  2. Develop and explain plans.
  3. Clarify what doesn’t matter.
  4. Track progress.
  5. 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?