Image credits: HIOB
Major organizations — and airlines in particular — continue to remind us they are inept in crisis situations.
Navigating a crisis presents tremendously stressful and challenging situations. Leaders can easily lose sight of what’s important or ignore common best practices when they’re under fire for a mishap. As uncomfortable and overwhel66ming as it can be, a crisis can be managed in a healthy and productive way, and lead to change for a better long-term solution.
Jack Welch, in his book Winning, states the five assumptions you can count on during a crisis. According to Welch, in a crisis you should assume:
- The problem is worse than it appears. Skip denial and wrap your head around the fact that this is probably only going to get bigger and messier before it gets better.
- There are no secrets in the world and everyone will eventually know everything. Resist the urge to lock down information and communication. And remember, thanks to technology and social media, information travels faster than ever.
- You and your organization’s handling of the crisis will be portrayed in the worst possible light. It’s not the media’s job to make you look good; define your position and values clearly and early, and stick to them.
- There will be changes in processes and people. Crisis recovery requires change — be prepared to overhaul processes, systems and teams.
- Your organization will survive, and will likely be stronger and healthier having navigated the crisis and made reasonable change. Keeping this in mind will help you focus on what matters during the process.
Although they sound alarming, these premises have been proven time and time again. While I was teaching the business communications course in Welch’s MBA program, we discussed how these presumptions form easy guidance and cause quick and effective action.
Acknowledging and understanding these assumptions is your starting point, the baseline from which you move forward. Then you are prepared with a clear, realistic perspective and a properly-weighted focus on the outcome.
Consider that as much as Welch’s rules are intended as reminders for major organizations and top level leaders, they also apply to individual personal or career crises — keep them laminated and at the ready.