There is thick underworld of brush which prevents organizations from actually focusing on their priorities in everyday life.
As a matter of fact, I’ve got a little list of what the underbrush looks and feels like.
Just to name a few-hidden agendas of various senior managers all trying to maximize their influence; semi competent people who are “just good enough” to do a mediocre job; historic compromises in staffing due to legacy contributions; rituals which take up too much time; time spent babysitting between departments whose troops battle with one another; time wasted on failing projects which are being given another chance.
When facing a huge crisis, managing priorities becomes a matter of life and death, To make matters worse, almost all priorities change overnight. Cash-flow and credit become a major issue, supply chains become disrupted, reduction of force becomes an immediate necessity and after a short time, the crisis dictates basic survival jungle warfare, even for the fittest of companies.
In a crisis mode, it may appear that everything becomes urgent and there is no time to deal with the burning issues on the table. However, I have witnessed highly successful managers deal with crisis effectively; I want to share a bit of my experience, limiting myself to 5 key takeaways for managers at all levels.
- Define the most urgent and important issues that only you yourself can handle.
- When you find yourself doing something else, act swiftly to ensure that you focus only on items in #1. This may mean that you have to make staffing changes, outsource or take more risks
- If need be, replace your senior management team with a war cabinet, consisting of the key players needed to cope with the issues which necessitate interdepartmental action. Often the war cabinet consists of your senior management team plus a few experts and minus the low performers.
- Let some balls fall. Managing in a crisis is akin to juggling with far too many balls in the air. Some will fall and break. When they fall, they fall. Focus on those balls still in the air.
- Managing priorities in a crisis is not a tea party-it is more like a heavyweight boxing match with a bear. You will get hit. Fall down 6 times, get up 7.
And again, thanks to Dr Eva Rimbau for pressing me to elaborate on a previous post.