You’ve made a giant mistake. The panic sets in and your mind starts racing with guilt, fear, and self-hatred. You don’t know what to do besides start planning your own funeral, because you know you’re toast. We’ve all been there and it’s called crisis mode. Now whether you’re dealing with a crisis in your personal life, at work, or in some other area of your life, the steps to amending it are not all that different to be completely honest with you. Here is my little cheat sheet to having an easier and more effective way of dealing with the crises in your life.
#1. Have a Decent Plan
You want to come up with a good game plan quickly. Don’t get me wrong, you do not want to jump the gun and make promises that you can’t keep! BUT, you don’t want to put other people in an even worse position because you’re too afraid of the consequences! Try to brainstorm a plan by putting yourself in your audience’s shoes. What are the pros/cons that can result from your plan? How will you address concerning questions? How can you help or how can you find the appropriate help? These are all good things to keep in mind when implementing a strategy.
#2. Take Ownership Immediately
I’m almost positive that nobody likes to admit when things are their fault, but sometimes we just have to say the dreadful words, “I’m sorry.” Having worked five years in the customer service industry and then working two and a half years in marketing and advertising, I’ve had to apologize on the behalf of others thousands of times. For example, when I worked in the shoe industry I always had to utter the “I’m so sorry about that, let me try to fix this for you” phrase for shipping and manufacturing mistakes that were wayyy beyond the scope of my responsibilities as a retail associate. So, why would I take accountability for something that wasn’t my fault? Well, I tried to put myself in the customer’s shoes. They just want to know that you care and that you’ll amend their immediate problem. They didn’t have the ability to track down the person who’s fault it really was, so I had to put on my poker face and be the scapegoat for that day. In crisis mode, I encourage you to do the same thing. You can be completely honest about the situation at hand especially if it was due to something out of your control, but you should still take accountability and try to do your best to solve the underlying problems. I love KFC’s response to a national chicken shortage in their stores (see picture below). It’s witty and it takes accountability in a playful way.
#3. Don’t Overestimate Solutions
I’m sure you’ve heard the running joke about construction plans that were supposed to only take “six months” end up taking three years. Unfortunately, we live in a world full of false promises and unrealistic expectations. Of course you want to fix things in a timely manner, but DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT overestimate you or your company’s capabilities. If you think the effected person or persons is mad at you now over the crisis, imagine how mad they’ll be when you can’t deliver like you said you could. This happens all the time in almost every industry, and it’s absolutely appalling. I say the best way to avoid overestimating, is by stating a range of how much time, money, and resources your solution will take. That way you haven’t cemented in anything, but you’re offering general guidelines to those who want answers.
#4. Make Sincere Effort to Appease the People Who Were Effected
Look, I know many of us have a cynical view of the world and the people that are in it, but try to remember that most people have some type of redeeming qualities (no matter how deep down you have to look to find them). From what I’ve seen in my years so far, if you make a sincere effort to make a person’s day and help them, you can get even the meanest grumps to smile and say thank you. I bet that you’ve been an unhappy customer in the past and all you wanted was for someone to try to make you feel better. At the end of the day we all just want to feel like we matter and that our feelings matter. As tough as crisis management can be, remember that sometimes making a genuine effort to listen and help is the simplest part.
I hope these tips will help you solve any burden that may come your way. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comment section below! See you next week! 🙂
Infographic of the Week:
Question of the Week:
What is a crisis you’ve been able to solve in the past?