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Surviving and Succeeding in the Midst of Crises - by Dr. Maxwell

Crises are part and parcel of human existence in a less than perfect world. Most individuals have or will experienced crisis. And, organizations aren't exempt. Winston Churchill said "never let a good crisis go to waste."


Crises can be opportunities in disguise or a nightmare come true, depending on the perception and attitude with which we face the crises.


Some individuals and organizations seem to ride upon the challenging waves of life and end up better on the other side of a crisis. While others tend to be buffeted and battered by the same circumstances. Some are challenged and invigorated by the crisis and others let the crisis drain their enthusiasm causing them to despair.


What makes the difference?

So, what characteristics distinguish those who thrive in the midst of crises from those who fail? In his Forbes June 2020 article From Survive to Thrive Rasmuss Hougaard noted that, psychologically, humans tend to perceive moments of crisis as a challenge or as a threat. Those who view the crisis as a challenge tend to be energized. Conversely, those who view a crisis as a threat tend to feel stuck and paralyzed.


In his book Good to Great Jim Collins reported on a 5-year-long study comparing companies that made the transition from being good companies to becoming great companies with other companies that remained just good or fizzled under similar circumstances and during the same period of time. Of the companies that became great, Collins said "they {the executives} neither rant nor rave about a crisis -- and they don't manufacture one where none exists."

In his article How your Business can Survive and Thrive in a Financial Crisis Sean Byrnes shared several tips:

  1. Change the way you think about strategy, put your pre-crisis strategy on the back burner

  2. Revamp your planning strategy by planing over shorter periods of time (weeks, maybe a month)

  3. Develop a new achievable conservative plan that you will execute as you weather the crisis

  4. Take care of yourself and your people. Coaching can help you weather the crisis

  5. Transition to your more aggressive original plan as the crisis wanes