Actually - here are six reasons you should make this crisis the best opportunity for you to strengthen your organizational culture.
- 1. Get your leaders on the same page. Especially when you are handling a crisis you need your leadership team to be a hundred percent coordinated. Every team member must know their responsibilities, and which problems need to be solved. If roles and tasks have been overlapping, this is the time to get crystal clear on who is responsible for what.
- 2. A visible and accessible leadership team. All leaders must be aware and take into consideration that people experience a crisis differently. Leaders who have plans on how to make themselves more accessible and available by for instance starting a blog or having daily chats with all team members should do so now. This is a perfect opportunity to check-in and see how all employees are doing, and involve them in what is going on with the business.
- 3. Frequent and authentic updates. You should really use this opportunity to get everyone up to speed on what you see is taking place, and what you might see coming down the line. Make those subjects a great opportunity to invite all employees to be part of the company’s future. Leaders who are transparent and authentic build trust, and by inviting employees to be part of a solution you will motivate them by letting them know that you trust them and that they all matter to you and the company. Frequent updates matter. Even if you don’t have a clear message, just checking in with a «hello, how are you guys doing?» will help create trust, stability and good culture during a crisis.
- 4. It is never too late for an emergency- and contingency plan. It is always important to have a good plan for emergencies, but if you haven’t set one up already, a crisis might make it easier for you to see which actions need to be taken. This plan is closely related to the roles and responsibilities mentioned in #1 above. Who informs, or sets up a dialogue with clients? Who is responsible for the internal communication activities? How will you ensure a coordinated communication? Who is responsible for media, social media, webpages, and help desks? What can you do if parts of your assembly line or infrastructure fails, and you can’t get hold of people to help you solve the problem?
- 5. Training and practicing in a real crisis. All companies who already have a well-coordinated and functioning emergency team have most likely either experienced a crisis themselves, or they have heard of what other companies do. Either way, they have had the opportunity to train and practice their team on cases that could happen, so that when a crisis occurs they won’t have to spend time considering what needs to be done, or who does what. Of course, that is a better way to do it, but if the crisis occur and you are unprepared, the crisis will be your best opportunity to go from inexperienced to up and running in a very short time. Just be aware that openness, transparency and being authentic is crucial. There will be hard discussions and decisions to be made, therefore it’s of uttermost importance that everyone involved remember you are all aiming for the same ultimate goal – to get through the crisis as an even stronger team and organization.
- 6. A crisis is truly a dream scenario to kick off a long-term focused cultural project. Most of us are familiar with the term “adversity makes you stronger”. A crisis is a great opportunity for new insight and to grow as a team and as an organization. When you are all in it together, and when you overcome the obstacles together you are building resilience and ultimately a strong organizational culture will be the result. The same principles are at play when handling a crisis and when building a strong organizational culture. For instance, you could start by implementing let-go-leadership which is about letting go of your own control and counting on the people you already pay to take charge.
Why wouldn’t you make this crisis a great opportunity for you and your company to build a strong organizational culture? Ultimately, the company culture will be the only asset no one will be able to copy or take away from you. I wish you a lot of luck, and would of course love to be of any assistance if needed! Actually, my colleague Juan Carlos Velten and I are hosting a free webinar on the subject this Wednesday. Read more and sign up here.