BEHAVIOR 1: DECIDE WITH SPEED OVER PRECISION.
- Avoid Analysis paralysis.
- Define priorities. Identify and communicate the three to five most important ones.
- Consider the following questions. What conflicts might arise among the priorities you have outlined? Between the urgent and the important? Between survival today and success tomorrow?
- A simple, scalable framework for rapid decision-making is critical. Name the decision-makers. Establish who owns what. Empower your staff. Embrace action, and don’t punish mistakes
BEHAVIOR 2: ADAPT BOLDLY.
- Do not be afraid to admit what you don’t know, seek input from diverse sources.
- Decide what not to do. Put a hold on large initiatives and expenses, and ruthlessly prioritize. Publicize your “what not to do” choices.
- Strengthen (or build) direct connections to the front line. In triage situations, it’s crucial to have an accurate, current picture of what is happening on the ground.
BEHAVIOR 3: RELIABLY DELIVER.
- The best leaders take personal ownership in a crisis, even though many challenges and factors lie outside their control.
- They align team focus, establish new metrics to monitor performance, and create a culture of accountability. Stay alert to and aligned on a daily dashboard of priorities.
- To reliably deliver, leaders must maintain their equanimity even when others are losing their heads. Establish a routine of self-care. Stock up on energy, emotional reserves, and coping mechanisms.
BEHAVIOR 4: ENGAGE FOR IMPACT.
- Effective leaders understand their team’s circumstances and distractions, but they find ways to engage and motivate, clearly and thoroughly communicate important new goals and information.
- Reach out daily for a “pulse check” with at least five; block out time on the calendar to do this. Lead with empathy and a focus on safety and health.
- Ask for help as needed. The best leaders know they can’t do everything themselves.
- Collect and amplify positive messages —successes, acts of kindness, obstacles that have been overcome. Whatever your purpose, celebrate your daily (often unsung) heroes. Simply staying productive in these times is heroic.
Training your team for crisis leadership.
- Once the immediate fire is under control, think about who rose to the occasion, who struggled, and why. Consider how roles will change in the post crisis world and whether your key executives are positioned for success.
- Last and most important, ask yourself who you want at the table both in the current crisis and in the longed-for tomorrow when we emerge to a new normal.