During a crisis, your company can resemble a chaotic fair. Although the initial damage may not seem like it, crises are much more than damaging events. How you handle a crisis can define the future of your organization and give access to unprecedented resources and opportunities for growth and leadership. But, making this transformation from simply operating to leading your industry requires critical thinking and assessment of your current state. Furthermore, you will need to understand the six ways a crisis situation is an opportunity for your company to lead.
1. The Type of Crisis Defines How Your Company Will Respond.
Depending on your industry, the type of crisis can revolve around the banking system or natural disasters. Financial crises can virtually eliminate the majority of your customer base, and a natural disaster may force you to reassign staff members in remote locations. The type of crisis helps you determine what type of leadership skills will be most important.
Will you need to find a way to ensure a customer’s peace of mind, or will government requirements make existing procedures and processes inadequate? If a natural disaster happens, you will need to carefully determine if operations can continue in their existing locations, or you may be forced with the decision to relocate workers. Meanwhile, a financial crisis may require your company to create new marketing strategies to reduce overhead and reach more potential customers, making up for lost customers. Ultimately,
2. You May Need to “Reset” Current Operations.
Current operations reflect the latest technologies and innovations in your industry. Unfortunately, the problems associated with new technology may not become evident until a crisis occurs. Therefore, you need to be ready for the possibility of completely resetting your operation. In other words, you may need to return to previous technologies or overhaul how your company uses current technologies.
If your company experiences an internal crisis, such as a system-wide failure of your online customer portal, undoing the damage relies on the careful understanding of what caused the crisis and how it can be avoided in the future. As a result, you will need to “restart” your servers or consider outsourcing data hosting. The choice is in your hands.
3. New Processes or Procedures May Be Needed to Handle the Crisis.
An effective crisis management strategy cannot rely solely on the experiences of the past. Similarly, current processes or procedures will almost inevitably change when a crisis occurs. You must lead your team in deciding what type of changes will provide the most benefit to your company. According to Amy Morin of Forbes magazine, obtaining the ideas for change from team members is the first step to surviving a crisis. No option should be off the table when trying to overcome a crisis.
4. Staff Members Will Look Toward Management for Direction.
With the exception for executive-level staff members, your team looks to you for direction. If you “crack” under the pressure of a crisis, your team will fail, and your company could become a tragic example in history. However, a crisis gives you the chance to lead your team members, and these team members will be more likely to work with a leader who connects with their struggles.
Demonstrate your resolve to work through a crisis with your team, and make sure transparency is a top priority in the aftermath of a crisis. This is also true going forward. Create transparent processes in your organization to ensure all team members understand that your company is a cohesive band of individuals, which will help your company overcome the challenges faced.
5. A Crisis Enhances Competitors’ Views of Your Company.
Regardless of what kindnesses have been shown in the past, your competitors want your business to fail. If that happens, your customers will become the customers of your competitors. As a result, your competition is watching how you respond to a crisis, almost hoping you will slip up. But, if you push through the crisis undeterred, your competitors will see the drive of your company. Ultimately, overcoming a crisis will help you gain a competitive advantage in your industry, explains Lyria Charles of CIO.com, strengthening your leadership role.
6. Responding to a Crisis Improves Future Crisis Management Plans.
A leader takes a current situation and uses those experiences to create new ideas and embrace the possibilities of the future. During a crisis, you need to document and assess how every action in your company relates to it. This will improve your future crisis management plans, and in some cases, it can help you create better ways to lead your company in the future. More importantly, your crisis has given you the ability to draw on additional knowledge if a similar event occurs in the future. Therefore, you will become stronger and more apt at thinking on your feet, which can help propel your business after the crisis ends.
A crisis is often thought of as a terrible, game-changing event. In reality, it can be the most important driving force for your company, and it can give you an unparalleled competitive advantage over others who have not endured your challenges. By understanding how a crisis situation is really an opportunity for your company to lead, you also help to reduce the stresses and anxieties associated with such challenges, promoting a better, more productive work environment for all team members.
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Bryghtpath has developed the crisis management frameworks used by Fortune 500 corporations and federal law enforcement agencies. Learn more about our approach to Crisis Management in our Ultimate Guide to Crisis Management.