How to Learn From a Crisis

Surviving a crisis is a punishing, exhausting experience. The key, though, isn’t just to get through the painful times. You want to go beyond the treading-water phase, and use the situation to improve your operations going forward. In other words, you want to learn from the crisis.

This theme is crucial as we enter the post-coronavirus world. After all, COVID-19 threw many businesses into a crisis situation. The shutdowns and market disruptions caused by the virus created unexpected challenges.

Hopefully, though, if you preserve through the crisis, you’ll end up stronger on the other side. Surviving these economic disruptions will give you classic case studies to ponder as you armor your company against the next emergency.

Here’s how to learn from a crisis, developing the procedures you’ll need to become more invincible the next time around:

Stabilize the Situation

An airplane pilot with a damaged engine can’t call a four-hour committee meeting to work out an optimal strategy. They have to do the best they can to land the plane safely. Later, they can call the committee together to figure out what happened.

Managing a business crisis often unfolds in a similar way. Returning to a stable situation requires quick decisions and a willingness to experiment. You often don’t get much time for reflection. Once you stabilize the situation, you’ll have the time to dissect the crisis and its response in more detail.

Construct a Timeline

In order to learn from the crisis, you have to know what happened. This requires investigation. Think of it as a detective TV show. You need to interview witnesses (such as your employees) and construct a timeline of events. This process will let you review what happened and understand how you can improve on your performance in the future.

Control Your Emotions

Drawing lessons from a crisis requires a certain distance. You need to separate yourself from feelings of blame or regret. At the same time, you don’t want your relief at getting through the crisis to convince you that everything went fine. You need to approach the situation with objectivity and logic.

Remember: your goal is to improve your response next time. You want to review your reaction with clear eyes, uncolored by either the positive or negative emotions that a crisis can create.

Use Quantitative Measures

So how do you achieve this objectivity? Well, lean on the coldest, driest discipline you can find: math.

In order to improve your crisis response next time, you have to launch an effective evaluation of how you performed during the emergency. You can accomplish this by finding the appropriate quantitative measures. This way, you can open up a deep analysis that relies on dispassionate numbers.

Get Multiple Viewpoints

Quantitative measures should form the basis of your analysis. But it shouldn’t stop there. Different stakeholders experience a crisis differently. Taking these other viewpoints into account can give you a broader perspective.

As such, don’t rely entirely on a management-focused point of view. Talk to your employees and your customers as well. They might have insights that wouldn’t have occurred to you otherwise.

The ability to weather unexpected events will help your business last for the long haul. Developing this faculty involves having the right people in place. Partnering with a strong recruiter, like SmartTalent, lets you build the team you need to get your company through any tough time.

Contact SmartTalent today to learn more.


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