Setbacks in business, family or even non-profit and community organizations can affect your life a lot like a car accident. It’s disorienting and confusing, and it sometimes can take many days or even weeks to recover. Things might seem too complicated and you might even get a sense of being overwhelmed.
These reactions are natural and common to just about everyone, especially if they serve in a leadership role. The first step towards getting back on an even keel is to avoid allowing these understandable reactions to upset you further. Let your natural responses run their course and don’t beat yourself up. The recovery begins right away.
Put out the Fires
Any result of the crisis that is likely to persist and cause further damage must be dealt with immediately, even if it seems overwhelming or difficult. If you are not in a position to think clearly, delegate responsibility for putting out the “fires” as crisis management professionals call them. Put a time limit on your responses and get your feet back on solid ground.
The famous advice from the world of software development is “nine women, one month, no babies.” This means there are some things that take a certain interval to accomplish. Rushing only saps energy that will probably be needed elsewhere. You can’t gain anything by hurrying in these situations, so save that energy for other priorities.
Make a Plan
One of the best ways to get a handle on a problem and start the process of solving it, even if the problem can be called a “crisis,” is to get the whole thing down on paper and start making a written plan to solve it. This gives you perspective and also helps you re-establish control in a situation where it might be scarce. Make sure to get everything written down if possible, as that will give you something to work from later.
Conserve Time and Energy
While you are executing your plan, be ruthless about avoiding anything that tends to distract from the issue at hand. These sideshows and rabbit-holes will do nothing but draw time and energy away from the solution your problem needs. Time and energy are always at a premium in a crisis. Don’t waste yours.
This advice might sound simple, and that is purposeful. Simple solutions are the only thing that most people can manage while addressing a complex problem. Keeping things straightforward and as simple as possible is the key to recovery and further progress.