Management Rules During Constant Crisis
In the past you wondered when the next crisis would hit. You don’t wonder that today.
Crisis-mode used to mean canceling appointments, working late, drinking too much coffee, and eating pizza late at night. You assumed you would get enough rest and head back to the gym when the crisis passed. That assumption will kill you today.
5 Management rules during constant crisis:
#1. Crisis-mode will continue for the foreseeable future.
You live in constant turbulence, persistent disruptions, and seductive distraction.
The things you could neglect during past crisis you can’t neglect today because in the past you neglected things with the assumption that the crisis would pass.
It’s not just COVID. Technology obliterates old rules. Expectations shift and collide like drifting icebergs.
#2. Confront reality.
The thing that concerns me most about leaders today is the decisions they’re making that are based on assumptions that aren’t true anymore.
The assumption that turbulence is going away is deadly. In the past, crisis-mode meant you focused on solving the crisis.
Stop using crisis-mode as an excuse to neglect self-care and self-development.
You won’t get by if all you do is try to get by.
#3. Make back-to-back meetings illegal.
If a meeting is typically one hour, make it 50 minutes. If it’s 30 minutes, make it 20. My experience shows that a little margin between meetings elevates energy and increases efficiency.
#4. Focus on high-return activities.
Stop pouring energy into low return activities. Your team would love to hear you say, “This isn’t working. What else might we try.”
#5. Time off isn’t the answer.
You need time off, but it’s more important to learn new rules for work.
“When the way you’re living and leading isn’t working, all the time off in the world won’t fix it.” Carey Nieuwhof
Tip: Don’t make every new challenge a crisis.
What new management rules might you suggest?
Constant crisis = new normal, which means the crises are no longer crises, but, rather, our new operational norm. This is a reality that I and many other need to face (point #2). We need to face and accept this new norm, if for nothing else than to save our mental health which is being supported by a potentially false idea that the way things are will end and the way things were will return. In accepting the new norm, we can find a new balance and acceptance and we free ourselves to find capacity to respond to new actual crises.
What new management practices might you suggest in a crisis?
1. Separate what’s known from the unknown. Get the facts as best you can. Seek input from multiple sources. Require people to site the sources that support their comments.
2. Determine what you can control from what you can’t control.
3. Establish a daily 5-minute huddle meeting to check in with your group. Make sure communications are two-way.
4. Clarify what you can stop doing and establish priorities for the next week to 30 days.
5. If you are in charge of a big organization, consider establishing a “crisis-readiness team” to be better prepare for the future.
This is so good, Dan. Exhausted adrenals are no way to live. There will be a telling future if we continue to stress over every crisis instead of realizing that we need to keep up our own mental and physical self care! Thank you!
What a refreshing piece. The difficulty is the fact that other people expect you to be on, plugged in, connected all the time. They want answers and they want it when they want it. If they do not get the answer, then they deem you “non-responsive”. How do you operate in a space where others expect almost everything from you? Answers, solutions, details, reasons for every decision, etc. It is a societal problem we are dealing with and everyone is not on the same page. I often get the question “when will you go back to your regular operation hours?, when will we be able to do (a traditional activity or routine we used to do pre-pandemic). It feels like constant rowing, and mostly rowing against the tide.
I agree Justin, a crisis is only a crisis for so long. at some point it becomes a way of life. research has shown that people who live in a constant state of crisis have higher mortality rates, higher incident of chronic disease, and have lower immunity to fight of a new crisis.
Is it the same with business? if you work to support the constant crisis you are lowering your ability as a business to move forward and become healthy again?
I pretty much agree that back to back meetings should be made illegal. It’s high time! And, we are in crisis mode all the time
Part of the issue, though, is that we make a personal choice to make some things a crisis that really aren’t. I had staff that treated every obstacle as a crisis. I had to work with them to realize that some things are just obstacles, and we can treat them as such.