Posted by Catherine Hedden ● July 08, 2020

Why Traditional Crisis Management Isn’t Working in 2020 (And What Is)

AdobeStock_349550267-1 In the early days of the pandemic, many of us—both in our roles as organization leaders and as feeling and sensing humans—believed if we could just get to “the other side” then everything would be ok. We’d get back to normal.

Now, we know that isn’t the case. There is no going back.

As we look out over the horizon, still shaken from the blow of the last wave that hit us when coronavirus came barreling in, we can see more waves of disruption approaching; the possible resurgence of the pandemic, the recession, extreme weather events and so on. In a time when great leadership is more important than ever, our traditional way of leading through crisis is no longer working.

What will? Let’s start by taking a look at the old model.

Traditional Approach

The traditional crisis management framework outlines three phases leaders must navigate for success during a crisis:graphic 1This simple approach has served generations of leaders as they guided their organizations through difficult times. However, those who depend upon this old model for leadership during the onslaught of present-day crises may find themselves perpetually stuck in a Groundhog Day-esque cycle of response and recovery, never able to break the cycle and reach the point of thriving. This is because we are in a prolonged—likely permanent—period of uncertainty with wave after wave of disruption and change.

When the old model is applied to recurring periods of back-to-back change, the constant cycle of response and recovery leaves few resources to focus on growth, innovation and thriving.

Our New Approach

We propose a new model for organizations to Thrive in Uncertainty. This model is based upon proven techniques and enables thriving while responding, building, learning and sharing. This model embraces short-term strategies and promotes success through teams operating in sprints. It assumes both a constantly shifting operating environment and the ability to grow revenue, innovate and provide value for all stakeholders.

graphic 2

The current crises are layered upon an already challenging time of technology transformation for most organizations. It is not uncommon for an organization to be leading multiple transformation projects such as cloud transformation, digital transformation, artificial intelligence and workforce transformation all at the same time[1] [2] . The outcomes of these projects are vital for the continued success of the organization. This model allows you to prioritize the projects that will best support your organization’s continued success while providing a process for realizing their benefits, perhaps faster than originally planned.

Studies have shown that organizations who used these techniques realized gains between 38–100% for deadlines, 25–80% for productivity, 83% for client satisfaction and 74% for team moral. Though this approach is new, the techniques deliver proven results.

This leadership model is foundational to our Thrive in Uncertainty program. To learn more about how your organization can build the capabilities necessary to confidently surf the waves of change, check out this post.

Topics: Change Management, Coronavirus, Leadership