By Dominic Cockram
Crisis hits, routines go out the window, everyone runs around … so when can you say that you are in command of the situation? Doesn’t ‘crisis’ automatically mean an intense period of constant chaos that eventually ebbs, and then stops? It doesn’t have to – you can be simultaneously in crisis, and ‘in control’.
Inevitably, there will be a stage in the immediate aftermath of any crisis where a feeling of chaos reigns; where no-one seems to know enough and events appear to be out of control. Sometimes they will genuinely be out of control.
It is important to understand that this could be the reality and prepare for it – and even be comfortable with it if you have done enough rehearsing. It is no use during a crisis to expect everything to be controlled, orderly and calm from the outset. However, it’s not oxymoronic to be both in a crisis and under control.
The following key indicators provide both good measures and targets to indicate that control is being achieved:
- Situational Awareness – you have established a good “situational picture” of what has happened that you know is proven fact – and have shared appropriately
- Decisions with clear direction – once you are able to start issuing clear direction then you are beginning the application of control
- Communication – you are getting the first messages out to stakeholders
- Looking to the future – you are getting ahead of the game and looking at what could happen next to forestall or forearm
- Setting the strategic agenda – you have established a strategy and are managing to communicate it to those that you need to influence, demonstrating that the leadership have an established “direction”
- Battle Rhythm – a very military term but very effective at describing the establishment of a crisis team routine which gives everyone deadlines and a structure to work within
These are the markers of a crisis ‘under control’ – not one that has been resolved (yet) – but one where order is being imposed over the situation and YOU start dictating the pace, pressure and progression of events.