Something I don’t often experience or write about is dealing with crisis, mainly because, for many years, things at Imagin8 have been so brilliantly organised that the very word ‘crisis‘ was about as foreign as a BLT at the local Shul. But in a fit of sheer genius and ambition that appears to have been in the heavyweight category, about three above my own weight (figurative, of course), I took 4 businesses online, launched 3 new ventures, and encountered a bit of a speed wobble along the way. They call it crisis. When the fan spatters your pristine white shirt with stuff that’s spelled very similar to shirt but is by no means pristine.
It’s unrealistic to believe that anyone is immune to crisis. Not even if you unplug your fan and change the colour of your white shirt. It’s how you deal with crisis that determines whether you’ll ever feel confident wearing white in public again.
There are two elements to dealing with crisis, apart from the incredibly obvious one called “breathe”. One is dealing with the panic caused by being in a crisis. The other is navigating your way out of the panic.
Neurologically, when crisis hits, so does its partner in crime, “panic” which has the effect of numbing your brain like breathing in a tank of novocaine. It’s really important to remember to breathe.
Breath in a crisis creates space to think. It allows you to create a pocket of air around you which enables you to operate without the panic. And it allows you to clear the path so you don’t get blindsided by the same thing again later. It’s also a handy acronym that I’ve coined to help you remember what to do in a crisis.
B Breathe – take a deep breath. Nobody reacts well in a crisis while they’re still in panic mode.
R Regroup. The crisis knocked you for a six. You’re not alone. Regroup, get your mind prepared. Step out of panic mode and get your mind ready to approach the crisis rationally.
E Easy does it. Don’t rush the solution to this crisis. Things may be falling apart around you. This is the new reality. You have to accept that there is a new priority, that things have been re-ordered. Ease into the navigator’s seat. Don’t rush this. Do it carefully.
A Approach the most critical issue first. There’s going to be fires all around you. Pick the most urgent or severe one and address that first. You can only do one thing at a time.
T Test the solution before throwing it back to your customer. Once you’ve fixed one thing, take a few extra moments to check that you have really fixed it, that the solution is correct, and that by fixing one thing you haven’t inadvertently broken something else. Test that the solution works properly before moving on to the next fire. Sending a half corrected solution back into play will only add more problems to your list when it breaks later on.
H How did this happen? When the crisis has blown over and you’ve fixed the broken pieces one task at a time, spend some quality time analysing what caused the crisis to become a storm that knocked you down. If you can identify the cause, ask How can this be prevented from happening again? Then, when the storm has passed and the crisis is over, get to work on building a more robust system, one that is geared to identify potential causes of this crisis and to trap them early so that things don’t escalate again. If the cause can’t be reduced to a system, identify what started the crisis and work on a personal development plan to prepare yourself for this type of situation so you don’t get blindsided by it again.
E Early Warning System. Set to work on building an early warning system that alerts you to the onset of potential danger long before it reaches crisis point. Most crises can be avoided if detected before things reach boiling point. Delve deep into the problem, identify what signals you need to receive beforehand that will give you time to prevent a similar situation from becoming a crisis i the future. Don’t let up – most people breathe deep after the crisis, and then move on to other important things. If the crisis caught you unprepared once, it can happen again unless you do something to prevent it. Emerge from the crisis, learn from it, and make sure this doesn’t catch you again. Alcohol usually helps. And you probably deserve it too.
So there it is – it helps to breathe in a crisis.
Save the date for the official launch
Garage Band officially launches on July 14th 6:00pm
at GIBS Restaurant,
Melville Road, Sandton
Invite press. Invite readers. Invite critics.
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org. Pre-orders on www.adamrabinowitz.co.za
And now for the dogs.
I recently responded to an arbitrary post in a book club group I follow on Facebook that seemed to have people rolling on the floor laughing. (their words). So, to brighten your day, here’s my answer to “what pets do you have”:
Gretchen Miller I only have 1 dog, 4 cats, 3 donkeys, 2 miniature stallions, 1 horse and (temporarily) 1 tiny snake
Adam Rabinowitz I was going to say that I have a small farm, but then I read Gretchen’s comment and she really does have a small farm. Except for the snake. And only a girl would say that she has a tiny one of those. A guy’s tiny snake would be an anaconda in training. We have 4 dogs, 4 cats and 4 kids. There’s a Ragdoll, who is the president of all the animals. Does nothing at all but gets paid the most. There’s one brain damaged cat who I swear is high most of the time, probably because of where we got her from, and not because of what goes on at home. The strongest smell in the house is coffee, so heaven knows what that cat is on. Of the dogs, one is a Pekingese with bad joints so he walks around like a badly made in China wooden toy that creaks most of the time. He’s a year old and still doesn’t know how to sit. The most recent addition to the animals is Blu the Boston terrier, who tears around the house like a three legged chicken in Ethiopia. He’s not even 2 months old and already knows how to sit. He tries desperately to play with the wooden jointed Peek who just manages to get pulled around by his ears while growling and ignoring commands to sit, which I eventually figured he’ll never understand, because he is originally from China, and doesn’t understand English. I looked up the word ‘sit’ in Chinese and tried it on him. The terrier sat. The president came wandering in asking where his dinner was.