Handling Crises Athira Nair and Matt Bikoff
When is a situation a crisis? • High degree of instability • Potential for extremely negative results • Can endanger continuity of the organization • Brings surprise or change
Types of Crises • According to LSU, three types of crises • Sudden • Smoldering • Bizarre
The Chinese symbolfor crisis means “opportunity blowing on an ill wind.” …Which means what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.
Why are crises important? • Consequences determine future of organization • Distinguish effective and ineffective leaders • Can be seen as a turning point for the organization
What you can learn from crisis: • Redefine core values of organization • Renew organizations by getting new hands to replace old ones • Brings out honor, selflessness, etc. • Bonding and renewed trust
Four Elements of Crisis Leadership • (1) being visible and available • (2) communicating supportively, carefully and regularly • (3) controlling one’s behavior and reactions • (4) giving the situation perspective to create alignment
Handling It: Communication • You must know the facts! • Overall Objective: to be clear, articulate • Tone of voice • Choice of words • Tempo of speech • Eye contact • Repetition
Handling It: Communication • Determine who to contact and in what order • Designate a spokesman • Give an email address/hotline number • One clear repeated message
Handling It: Communication • Anticipate tough questions • Answer questions in a timely manner. • Tell the truth. Provide the facts. • Dispel rumors.
If you are the spokesperson… • Answer questions based on facts. • You can say, “I don’t have that information but I can have someone get back to you.” • You can refer questions to the administration or law enforcement.
Decisiveness John Goodwin Cassandra Xia
Making Decisions • We all need to make decisions • “Waiting for God…” example Man does not simply exist, but always decides what his existence will be. –Viktor Frankl
“The percentage of mistakes in quick decisions is no greater than in long-drawn-out vacillation, and the effect of decisiveness itself 'makes things go' and creates confidence”– Anne O’Hare McCormick
When to be neutral • When the decision is out of your hands • When it is none of your business • When taking a stand could put you at risk Some people are very decisive when it comes to avoiding decisions. –Brendan Francis
When NOT to be neutral • When time is an issue • When people are depending on you • Most other times! Everything starts with yourself—with you making up your mind about what you’re going to do with your life. –Tony Dorsett
When to wait on decisions • When time isn’t an issue • When you need feedback • Special circumstances–i.e. Stock Market The best decision makers are those who are willing to suffer the most over their decisions but still retain their ability to be decisive. –M. Scott Peck
How to make quick decisions • Decide which decisions matter • Focus on these decisions • Absorb all the evidence you have available • Make an experience-informed decision One who sits between two chairs may easily fall down –Russian Saying
Which decisions can be “executive decisions” • Decisions executives usually make • Decisions that might cause excessive squabbling • Time-sensitive decisions • Decisions that have already been debated
Having confidence in your decisions • Decisiveness rather than decisions determine success • Generates positive momentum Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen. –Ralph Waldo Emerson
Don’t fear wrong decisions • How to prepare for making the wrong decision • Remember, any decision is usually better than no decision Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing is so futile. –Bertrand Russell
When to admit you were wrong • When it is apparent that you have made a bad decision • Don’t be upset, but take responsibility • It happens to everyone! The great decisions of human life usually have far more to do with the instincts and other mysterious unconscious factors than with conscious will and well-meaning reasonableness. –Carl Jung
Dealing with the consequences of your decisions • Lead the group onto the correct path immediately • Be positive; don’t dwell on the setbacks • Take responsibility There is no more miserable human beings than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision. –William James
Dealing with Monday Morning Quarterbacks • Brett Favre Commercial • Privately let them know you don’t appreciate their comments • Invite them to help you make future decisions Beware of irresolution in the intent of thy actions, beware of instability in the execution; so shalt thou triumph over two great failings of they nature. –Khematic saying