Organizations sputter and stall quickly. Insider focus seems to be our default mode. We naturally work to create personal comfort rather than value for customers. How can stalled organizations re-energize their zeal and reinvigorate their vision?
One strategy to get a stalled organization moving is creating a crisis.
Webster says a crisis is, “The point of time when it is to be decided whether any affair or course of action must go on, or be modified or terminate…”
How to Create a Crisis
The leadership team I work with created a crisis by setting a deadline. After months of pursuing a desirable solution to a pressing problem, we drew a line in the sand. Here’s what we said to our organization.
If we cannot find the property we desire by July 1, we will accept a less desirable, temporary option. Furthermore, by August 9 we plan to vacate this property and move into the best available location. July 1 arrived and the solution we hoped to find didn’t materialize. We identified a less desirable solution and moved on schedule.
Getting over it
We kept looking for the “perfect” solution. While looking we turned down several opportunities. A deadline helped us let go of perfection. Perfection is the enemy of progress.
A crisis forced us to get creative and consider unconsidered options. Setting a deadline opened our minds and created urgency.
It turns out the less desirable option has many advantages. It’s not perfect. It’s creating discomfort. However, it freed us from a strangling bottleneck and presents new exciting opportunities.
Eight suggestions for crisis makers:
- Be willing to fail and be prepared for the consequences
- Be up front with everyone (never deceive)
- Only create a crisis if your mission and vision are in peril
- Don’t even think about it unless trust runs like a river through your organization – it’s going to be tough even with trust
- Stick to your word
- During the crisis act humbly, confidently, and compassionately
- Acknowledge the negative while focusing on opportunities
- Keep repeating your values. Values establish stability during the destabilization.
What other suggestions do you have for creating a crisis? What other dangers?