Leading during a crisis

I have been through hurricanes, recessions, corporate collapse, ransomware attacks, you name it. During times of uncertainty, leadership must provide focus and a plan. Without it, people will panic and chaos ensues. Your employees, partners, and clients are looking to you for guidance and their well-being. Be the leader they need.


Here are some things for you to think about to prepare for and weather a storm. It is a short list but hits some of the highlights and perhaps gets you thinking.

Executive leadership – all eyes are on you. Keep calm and focus. Discuss scenarios from least to worst case. Work together and develop a plan, communicate with teams, and execute on it. Discuss as a team and revise as needed if scenarios change. Give direction (see below). Communicate often. Keep people busy.


Finance – start modeling scenarios, fast. Cash is king. Can you make payroll for 2-3 months with limited cash coming in? Look at revenue streams you can count on and expenses that can be reduced to sustain employee salaries and benefits. If the numbers do not work, consider pausing non-essential expenditures. Talk with your bank to understand loan options before you need it. Your job is to provide the executive leadership with options.


Sales/Business Development – Identify what revenue you can bring in over the next few months. Are there alternative services you can provide? Look for opportunities. Strengthen relationships. Check on customers. This will come to an end and the customers will remember who reached out and cared.


Technology – remote access is obvious but make sure and protect the firm. Bad guys want access too. Think ahead. What critical systems may not be readily accessible and what access can you provide.


Customer Care – communicate with customers and partners often. They are in the same boat and need to know how you are doing. Create an outreach program and let everyone know you are there for them.


Human Resources – there will be a lot of concerned people. Be the hub for information from factual sources. Listen to those that need an ear but squelch panic. Identify if any employee needs help and how the company can provide. Share concerns with leadership quickly so they can provide answers and assurances. Communication is key.


Let the company know:

We got this and you are looking out for their best interests.

We have a plan and need everyone focused and on board for it to work.

This too shall pass and we will come out stronger than ever before.

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