Criteria for Success in a Crisis

Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA
Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA

What distinguishes businesses who are high performing in a crisis vs those who are average performers during a crisis?

Since we are involved in 2 major crises (Covid-19 and examining fundamental issues about racial injustice and equity) we can begin to look at how organizations are using resilience strategies to stabilize and strengthen their business foundation.

In my own resilience assessments and then in examining some recent resilience research findings, high performing companies engaged in the following activities very well:

  • They communicated often and effectively: Just this past week, I must have received a dozen communications from different company CEO’s expressing support for Black Lives Matter and their own organizational commitment to diversity issues.
  • Reiterate core values: Companies were quick to emphasize employee health over business health during the early stages of the Pandemic along with the notion that they wanted to do whatever was necessary to support their employees. In my Resilience Assessments, employees who received supplies they needed (monitors, desks, ergonomic chairs) shipped to their homes felt a stronger connection to the company and reported a willingness to work in a diligent manner.
  • Capacity to learn: Organizations that are quick learners and can adapt from their mistakes come out the other side much stronger. One example of an organization that has been slow to learn is the National Football League, where Roger Goodell acknowledged, this past weekend, that the League was wrong in not recognizing and honoring the protests of Colin Kaepernick and other Black athletes protesting inequality and police brutality. In an organization which has a workforce comprised of 68% African American (on the field) and a 10% workforce in top management, it would seem they have a bit of work to do.
  • Know what they are about: In times of crisis, our field of vision becomes narrower and successful companies are able to zero in on their key mission. Facebook’s mission is to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together,” so it is no surprise that it took them less than 2 months to launch a new product call “Messenger Room” that is their version of Zoom. It will soon grow in capability and be ready to rival Zoom.

Your Challenge This Week: While these factors may have something to do with how businesses successfully manage crises, they also apply to us and individual leaders and employees.  How can you be better connected to these important factors for success?

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