How to Keep your Head Above the Water during an Organizational Crisis?

By Samrat Pradhan, Managing Editor Friday, 27 October 2023

In the last few years, the world of business has been dealing with facets of crisis be it pandemic, financial volatility, supply chain disruptions, to technology unpreparedness. Smoothly running an organization has always been a cumbersome process for leaders, especially if we look at today’s dynamic business environment. Navigating disruptions, while keeping mission and vision aligned with the ongoing operations has always been a daunting task. A crisis can hit an organization at anytime. It is as such that there is no wake-up call. Hence managing a crisis is the most important aspect as it determines the continuity of the business. 

2023 has brought a whole new range of crises for brands, and 2024 will be a whole new ballgame where the market is expected to be more competitive and challenging than ever. Furthermore, challenges for companies come from both fronts; internal and external events. Here, the leadership plays the most important role of reorienting their organizations to succeed in new environments.  To cultivate the right mindset for succeeding in this new landscape, leaders must help their teams make sense of the contrast between a sudden and a sustained crisis.  

Demonstrating Robust Crisis Management Capabilities

A sudden crisis presents a clear imperative to limit harm, wherein, the stakes are obvious and the timeframe limited. Risk tolerance is appropriately high because the risk of doing nothing is obviously worse. A sustained crisis is different. In an ongoing period of intense difficulty, trouble, or uncertainty, the primary goal is building resilience rather than preventing immediate harm. The stakes are subtle, the timeframe longer. Risk tolerance edges down as people try to return to deliberative decision-making while resources draw thin. The crisis can occur due to many factors which includes natural disasters, cybersecurity breaches, public health crisis, reputation crisis, financial crisis, and organizational misdeed crisis, among others.  

Here, leaders must articulate perfect crisis management methodologies that involve strategic planning to counter unexpected events and threats so as to prevent, mitigate, and respond to a crisis. Crisis management involves strategic planning and responses to unexpected events and threats and is one of the best methods of preventing, mitigating, and responding to a crisis. 

Crisis management's most important features include protecting the organization’s reputation and stakeholders. Sustaining the image and credibility of a business is the most crucial aspect for any given organization. Leading to a loss of trust from customers, investors and other stakeholders, such as employees can be disastrous. To mitigate this, leaders can implement effective crisis management strategies so as to instill confidence in their customers and mitigate the negative reputational consequences of a crisis. Furthermore, devising effective crisis management helps in significantly minimizing financial losses, ensuring business continuity, and maintaining public trust. 

Navigating Challenges 

Irrespective of industry verticals, leaders today confront many intertwined problems. Internally if we look at it, we can see burned-out and frustrated workforces, executive misconduct to mismanaged operations. While, externally, leaders face unhinged challenges from growing competition, cybersecurity, and market volatility to financial disruptions among others. Change can be hard to manage for any organization, it is often necessary for the survival and advancement of an organization. Hence, one should accept the change with a positive attitude so as to seamlessly adapt to your circumstances with less stress and guide peers as they encounter changes of their own. 

"Change is a normal part of our lives, but it's uncomfortable for the vast majority of people because it makes them feel like they've lost control. Do you remember a time when you felt like things were being done to you that you had no control over? That's how they may feel now. In every way you can, let them know that you can relate to that." - Mary JoAsmus.


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