Manage The Crisis and Don’t Exploit It

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So I heard an interesting thought on crisis management:

“Never let a good crisis go to waste!”


Isn’t that frequently how politicians and lobbyists use the crisis, rather than deal with it. 


In certain cases, some have even been known to actually create the crisis for their ends!


Whether it’s some politicians calling for strict gun control when there is a mass shooting (perhaps infringing on other reasonable 2nd amendment rights) or it’s right to life advocates demanding an end to funding for planned parenthood when some bad people are caught selling fetal body parts and so on and so on.


Maybe these things are the right thing to do–in which case, a very bad event can end up being an impetus for much needed change and thus, can facilitate in transforming society and from that perspective, be a good thing!


But is the change really and necessarily the right thing to do…or is the crisis de jure just an excuse to get what some people wanted all  along.


– Use (exploit) the crisis.


– Maximize the momentum from the crisis.


– Leverage the emotions from the crisis.


– Promptly turn the tables on the issue.


– Leave all compromise and negotiation aside, and seize the moment.


The lesson here is not to just react, because a sudden and impulsive decision may end up being an overreaction and cause negative unintended consequences down the road.


The pendulum tends to shift and swing widely in both directions–neither extreme is good.


Instead well thought policy, use of common sense, maintaining reasonableness, looking at all sides, and a general middle of the road approach usually yields the best results for the most people.


Crisis management should be just that–managing the crisis; the policy should be fully reasoned both before and after. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Dirty Laundry Usually Doesn’t Get Aired

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The way to fix problems is to first identify and acknowledge them.


Only then can you focus on them, commit to them, really address them, and make things better.


The BIG problem though is fear. 


Usually dirty laundry doesn’t get so easily aired. 


Generally, people don’t want trouble. 

“The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.”

And who wants to be the one to get hammered flat and for of all things, doing the right thing?


We don’t encourage transparency.


And we certainly don’t reward transparency. 


As I once overheard:

“Uh, you better keep it in the family!”

So things get kept in the family, and the big burly husband is a drunkard bum and the wife is abused and the kids are abused, and the sh*t goes on. 


Shhh…


Open door policies, hotlines, and other mechanisms are helpful, but don’t go far enough. 


Bosses need to ask point blank and with full and honest assurance of confidentiality and non-attribution or retribution:

“Tell me what’s really going on here.”

When there is smoke, there is fire, and where there is skunk stink, there is skunk.


The only way to know the truth and make a difference is to get to the truth.


In life, is anyone willing to “do the dirty” and finally get to clean? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

It Takes A Village

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I wanted to share some good tidbits about effective management, collaboration, and engagement that I heard this week at a Partnership for Public Service event.


It Takes A Village – No I don’t mean the book by Hillary Clinton, but rather the idea that no one person is an island and no one can do everything themselves. Rather, we need the strengths and insights that others have to offer; we need teamwork; we need each other!


2-Way Communication – Traditionally, organizations communicate from the top-down or center to the periphery (depending how you look at it).  But that doesn’t build buy-in and ownership. To do that, we need to have 2-way communication, people’s active participation in the process, and genuine employee engagement.


Get Out Of The Way –  We (generally) don’t need to tell people how to do their jobs, but rather develop the vision for what success looks like and then get out of the way of your managers and people. “Make managers manage and let managers manage” and similarly, I would say, hold people accountable but let people work and breath!


Things Change – While it’s important to have consistency, momentum, and stay the course, you also need to be agile as the facts on the ground change.  “Disregard what’s not working, and embrace what is.” But you must stay open to new ideas and ways of doing things.


This is our world of work–our village–and either everyone helps and gets onboard the train or they risk getting run over by it. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Arguing The Negative

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I thought this was an interesting sign this gentlemen had.


It says:

“Those who reject Jesus do so because of sin, not science or evidence.”


Overall, religion is a matter of personal faith not to be argued, but rather when based to good, to be wholly respected. 


This argument though was basically saying, not to reject this particular tenet of faith of a major religion because there is “not science or evidence” from which to reject.


But usually, don’t we look for science or evidence to accept or do something. 


In other words, the default usually is that if you want me to believe in something or somebody, prove to me why I should


It’s a bad argument when you ask me to prove to you why you shouldn’t believe in something. 


Very often this is the same argument people use in relationships and in organizations.


We do the same thing everyday or over and over again, and we often don’t ask ourselves why we do it this way or believe this is a good way of doing something…we just do it. 


And in fact, when someone new comes in with “fresh eyes” and questions why we do it a certain way or have we considered another approach, we ask them to prove to us with “science or evidence” why their way is better, rather than reexamine our own ways and means.


I’m not in any way questioning here G-d or religion, but rather simply our approach to self-examination, introspection, and betterment.


Don’t ask me to prove to you why you should reject something, but rather be prepared to defend your hypothesis. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Overcoming Resistance To Change

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So have you heard of the 20-50-30 Rule when it comes to change management?


20% of the people are open and friendly to change–they are your early adopters.


50% are fence sitters–and they hold a wait and see attitude. 


30% are resisters–these are the people that will be the roadblocks to change. 


_____


Total 100%


Some will resist openly and loudly. Others will disguise their resistance in a politically correct way.  And finally some may work subversively to block change. 


The keys to overcoming the resistance is by working through the head, heart, and hands model, helping people to understand the following:


Head (Intellectual) – What is changing. 


Heart (Emotional) – Why it’s changing (and what’s in it for me–WIIFM).


Hands (Behavioral) – How is it changing.


This means changing the mindset, motivating people, and shaping behavior to effect change. 


Change and resistance to change are facts of life, but how we approach it can either mean failure or amazing transformation. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Balancing Change and Stability

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So new leaders frequently want to come into town like a knight in shining armor riding speedily on their white stallions to “save the day.” 


Being new and needing to prove themselves, change and quick results are the imperative.


The problem is that fast, quick wins can be mistakenly and superficially achieved while sacrificing longer-term organization success.  


We push people to hard, too fast, and without the underlying care and emotional feeding to duly support the rainbow in the sky changes being sought. 


People are human beings that need to be brought along in a unified manner and with a solid infrastructure and not plowed over for the sake of some short-term gains.


You can push for change so hard–you can crack the whip and you can demand what you want when you want–but rest-assured that you are leaving a great pile of destruction in your wake. 


Performance results are built by maintaining a sane balance between change and stability–pushing others to do more with less has to be replaced instead with getting out front yourself and pulling the organizational weight at a measured pace so that workers aren’t trampled by the raw, unbridled ambition of the leadership. 


You may have a great scorecard of accomplishments, but they may be the tip of what is otherwise an iceberg of discontent and disaster beneath. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Turning To Love

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Just an observation about love today.


But it seems that it’s far easier and more frequent to see love turn to hate and resentment than vice versa.


It’s a lot easier to destroy a relationship (or any success) than to build it to begin with.


Even as we talk about forgiveness and loving thy neighbor, it seems that more often than not negative feelings are at best turned to acceptance or neutral feelings rather than back to true endearment.


This state is often accompanied by such fears or protectionist sayings as “leopards don’t change their spots” or “love once lost is lost forever.”


While we may be willing to turn the other cheek for a moment or even a while, bad feelings and distrust towards another does not make the leap back to closeness and an endearing, loving relationship all that often.


Of course, there are exceptions where through trust building measures and “easing of sanctions” or hostilities, we can over time rebuild a relationship and become allies or partners again.


However, it is far easier to break trust and lose love then to ever rebuild and recover it.


All the more reason to cherish our meaningful relationships and make love count, sing, and dance for us every moment of every day. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)