LinkedIn October Edition: Leading Through a Crisis
Welcome to CapRelo's LinkedIn Blog Edition! We dive deep into global mobility leadership questions asked by you and others in the relocation industry. We hope to bring firsthand insight from our leaders to help you with the many challenges you face. We sat down with Barry Morris, President, and CEO of CapRelo, to discuss how exactly to lead through a crisis. So let's dive right in!
Leading Through a Crisis—How to Manage Little Scares to Big Catastrophes
Hanging on to your core values is the secret to getting through the tough stuff
On September 11, 2001, in front of a classroom of second-graders President George W. Bush received notification from Andrew Card that the United States was under attack. It was the worst news a sitting president could hear. Counter to instinct, the President sat calmly for almost 10 minutes with the school children, listened to the story they were reading and bought himself critical space and time to think before reacting, which many crisis experts now consider exemplary.
Sometimes the best thing to do at the onset of a crisis is to consider your options and to avoid overreacting, which could potentially instill panic and confusion. Few people know that the President was aware of what was unfolding even as he walked out of the doors of Booker Elementary in Sarasota, Florida. He knew the value of keeping calm even in the face of calamity. Here, we give you ways to help lead through a crisis and to be prepared should you have to manage a little scare or big catastrophe.
Have a plan
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a policy for just about everything. On their website, they write:
"Strategic and operational planning establishes priorities, identifies expected levels of performance and capability requirements, provides the standard for assessing capabilities, and helps stakeholders learn their roles. The planning elements identify what an organization's Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) or Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs) should include for ensuring that contingencies are in place for delivering the capability during a large-scale disaster."
To distill the message, this means:
- Who does what;
- When they do it,
- How they do it, and
- How to know if what is being done is sufficient.
Clear organization saves time and much more
Your crisis plan should guide your organization to critical facts, supporting documents and key players. It will allow you to make quick decisions without being hasty or under-informed. Tell everyone on your team on how your information is organized so they can make smart use of it too.
Credibility is everything
Tell the truth and insist that others do too. Leaders set the tone for candor. During a crisis, it's best to keep communications simple, honest and frequent.
Set clear boundaries
Encourage your team to control the controllable. On April 11, 1970, Apollo 13 launched for the moon. Two days in, the mission aborted after an oxygen tank in the service module exploded—threatening the lives of all aboard. Its story became a legend as the NASA team members rallied to bring all the astronauts' home safely. Take a page from this historic crisis management success and keep team members in their lane and encourage them to "work the problem." It's easy to get stuck "admiring the problem" as opposed to finding its solution.
What you do makes what you say matter
Check your passions at the door during a crisis. Everyone is aware of the urgency in a crisis. Those you lead will begin to mirror your reactions to new revelations as the crisis unfolds. Calmer heads prevail.
Beware of bias
"Intervention bias" and "blame gaming" simply represent the instinct that says, "don't just stand there do something." This reaction is driven by adrenaline and can lead to overreactions. "Blame Gaming" is wasting critical time looking for a scapegoat and causes, working to fix the blame instead of the problem. This reaction only can lead to wasted time and distractions. While useful in a review to refine plans for the future, pinning responsibility typically does not resolve an ongoing crisis.
Managing the unexpected during a relocation is a far cry from enduring a hurricane, a terrorist attack or an equipment failure in space. Still, when the radically unexpected happens, it can feel catastrophic to those affected. Planning, experience, a keen focus and a calm demeanor can help mitigate the impact of an unplanned event. Making sure you and your providers are ready for a crisis is the best way to avoid one.