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Thrive and grow along with the crisis

Published in Strategy, Business

Written by

Minna Janhonen

Minna Janhonen is an organizational development and human resources professional who coaches companies into lean and agile methodologies.


April 16, 2020 · 2 min read time

When a crisis has just begun, it’s crucial to keep up the capacity of action. Quick yet well-considered reactions and empathetic stance on people’s worries are essential for good leadership.

During a crisis, the organization meets three phases, in all of which leadership needs to be fitted for each situation

  1. In the first phase, which is the acute crisis, it’s utterly important to focus on keeping up the capacity of action.

  2. Acute crisis phase is followed by recovery-phase when the organization moves back towards the state they were in before the crisis

  3. The third phase is adapting to the new circumstances, and thriving and growing along with the crisis.

You can read about crisis management during the first phase from the first blog post of this series.

Fortunately, after an acute crisis, the situation will settle down is and recovery and adaptation take place – what leaders should consider, to achieve thrive and grow along with the crisis?

Maintain readiness: Don’t cut down your operations too roughly. More considerate decreases ensure better readiness for restart.

Continuously adapt: During the crisis, things can evolve and change quickly. It is important to regularly stop and evaluate what kind of changes has happened that could have a business effect. It might not be possible to return to the state before the crisis, so it is recommended to concentrate on what new situation can provide, rather then what you have lost.

Include all: The leader needs to be a positive role model – so communication and listening have the utmost importance! Share information actively and on time. Take into account of changing needs and be flexible – there is a wide variety of personal reactions to a crisis. Some people need more and different kind of support than others

Communicate actively with your customers: Open communication during the crisis helps to create trust. Be sensitive to the changing and evolving needs of the customers, it’s the place where you can find new business opportunities.

Reflect with your team / peers: When the situation starts to settle down, it is time to look back. Collect experiences about what you have learned, and how you can use it in the future. What does the “new normal” look like, and how you adapt to it? Remember that change is continuous, and normal is also temporary. Also, now it’s time to give credits about that you survived the acute phase.

If you are familiar with agile methods, you probably noticed similarities between those and the advice given. Continuous adaptation, customer-centricity, and reflection are all important features both in agility and in resilient leadership.

Ending note: Rehearsing helps to survive during the crisis. Different kinds of stress-test rehearsals and -simulations help to control crisis situations, because they teach you to face a crisis, and create a base on how to act in emergencies. Without active rehearsing, it is easy to intuitively do things, that don’t help to proceed in the best possible way.

Webpage has been used as a reference – thanks our colleagues in New Zealand about your great work!

In the first blog post, I wrote about leadership in acute crisis phase.

Written by

Minna Janhonen

Minna Janhonen is an organizational development and human resources professional who coaches companies into lean and agile methodologies.