How Do You Cope When Faced With Crisis?


How Do You Cope When Faced With Crisis?

This week I have been dealing with a crisis involving a client. This situation is quite serious and complex as it involves health issues. This has sparked some thoughts about what has helped me previously in other crisis scenarios.

Often I read or listen to people speaking about creativity, or creative solution focuses and other such similar buzz words. Although these approaches can work, I have learned that also going back to some fundamental problem solving is a great starting place. Going back to the basics can lay a good foundation to navigate a crisis.

Five foundations for dealing with a crisis.

I would like to share with you five approaches that I have discovered can work for me in times of crisis.

1. Stop and Breathe.

The first approach that I recommend, and can be done at any point in working through a crisis, is to remember to stop, breathe, and collect your thoughts. Remembering to slow down and take longer breaths can be very beneficial in terms of having a calming effect on the mind and body.

As a part of this slowing down, I suggest beginning a regrouping and reviewing. This is all about getting a fuller understanding of the situation. I start to pull together what I know about what has occurred. This may also include pulling together some or all of the relevant stakeholders. 

2. Find Your First Principles.

Once I reacquaint myself with what has occurred, I often find it useful to go back to the first principles of the project or business decision. I find this to be highly useful. Going back to why decisions were made may help reveal what occurred that brought on the crisis.

Sometimes the first principles of a project can get lost as work starts to roll over. Reminding ourselves of the reasoning behind the original goals can be highly beneficial in terms of helping find a focus in the middle of what might be a difficult situation.

3. Navigate the Non-Negotiables.

This approach involves identifying what boundaries need to be present in the situation and working out what the non-negotiable aspects of things are. Working out boundaries and what is negotiable or non-negotiable in a situation helps to focus in on options while also maintaining the original integrity of a project. 

Working out these things helps to narrow choices in a productive and positive manner. Knowing where your wiggle room is or isn’t provides structure and can help set the right direction for working through a crisis.

4. Pick the Priorities.

This step is about pulling together the previous three approaches to make some decisions. Sometimes going through the first three steps helps to reveal what the order of priorities should be or at the very least, provide some information and insight that will help with setting the next steps.

I find it is often helpful to be clear what the chosen priorities are. The clearer the priority is, the easier it will be to take action on it and also to review it.

This also may be another time to bring stakeholders in. Of course, this depends on the work or the project; however, if there have been other key people present in previous decision making a lot of headaches can be avoided through including them in setting the priorities.

5. Share the Love.

Where possible, share priorities or different aspects of priorities with other stakeholders. It is not always possible for us to do things completely on our own.

Sharing the workload not only assists with managing your own time. It can also have some other added benefits such as; inspiring people to take more ownership or become more committed to a project, it can strengthen and build a team, and the reality is more can be accomplished in a shorter period of time as soften crisis points need timely actions and interventions.

Overcoming The Crisis Conundrum.

These items sound like they can take a lot of time, but they do not always have to. The main point is to drill down into what is important to assist you with making the best decisions you can in a crisis.

If you take anything away from this, even if you do not resonate with the approaches, the most fundamental thing I have learned is to insert structure where possible in a crisis.

By inserting structure in your daily routine, you give yourself some control in a situation that may have elements of which are beyond your control.

And please remember to breathe.

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