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"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."
Earnest Hemingway.


Moving through Crisis

I woke up this morning with the word Crisis banging around in my head, and my heart beating wildly with excitement. The one thing that can bring the best out of people is a crisis, yes, I know it can also bring the worst out of people too, but not if they have great leadership.

I find writing a great way to process, so I thought I would share some of my thoughts over the next few days, to help us navigate through this crisis, it would be a shame to waste this opportunity to not only lead your team through, but I do believe the impact could be greater as they in turn lead their families through too.

Definition of Crisis:

  • A time of intense difficulty or danger.
  • A time when a difficult or important decision must be made.
  • The turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death.

There is no doubt we are in a crisis right now, as measures are put in place with the long view in mind, it will have ripple effects around the world. More than the actual disease, the fear and panic that is gripping around the hearts of people will have the biggest impact.

This is the time for leaders to step up and give people hope, focus and direction. There is no doubt that the impact will be felt, but just as the 3rd definition of Crisis, how we respond to this will determine whether we recover or die, especially in our businesses. What we do next matters, a lot!

It is not about getting all fancy and complicated. Now is a time for simplicity. Going back to basics. Your first port of call is to create certainty for yourself, your organisation, family, team. There are so many things in play right now. Most of what we fear, will not even happen. As leaders we have to lead others through to the other side. We cannot be making rash, knee jerk decisions right now.

I hope you have a healthy team that not only trust each other, but can have some healthy robust debate, so some real quality decisions can be made. Remember, you need to have a long view of what is most important and how you will preserve that. Now is also the time when your core values will be guiding those decisions and yes, they will be tested. How you behave in this time will confirm if your core values are real.

There are four stages we need to lead people through. We need to lead them out of Disharmony to Awareness and Hope, we then need to lead them through the Valley of Insight (I will explain later) to
Victory and Mastery. Each of these stages requires clear leadership and lots of open communication.

Today let’s cover Disharmony. Change has been thrust on us, all our well laid out plans would have been disrupted, all that was certain is shaking and looks murky. As human’s we are story creating machines and everyone is starting to form a story of how this will play out. None of these stories will be based on fact, but they will determine people’s focus right now. Most people will be playing out the worse case scenario, which will be hindering their ability to make sound decisions. So check those stories.

As the leader your first job is to create certainty for your team. My encouragement is to get your leadership team in the room for a day (or two even) and work out what you do have control over and what you don’t.

Next find out what each person needs to have some certainty, it will be different for each person. Check if it is something you all have control over and then brainstorm how you can meet those needs. Once everyone has some certainty which will give them a sense of peace and control, then the you need to figure out what the most important thing you need to do in the next 3 months that will have the biggest impact to get you through to the other side of this crisis. Just one thing! If  everything is important, nothing is.

Break it down in to 4-5 objectives, assign responsibility to each objective and then commit as a team to  massive action. Shout if you need some help with this.

  • Find out what you can control. Acknowledge what you don’t have control over.
  • Find out what everyone in your team needs to be certain.
  • Find out what the one crucial thing you need to do right now that will ensure the health and recovery of your organisation/family/team.

Go forth and be awesome!

Tracey Olivier

I work with Leaders to unlock, ignite & equip them so that they can build, release and empower others with excellence.


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