2020 has certainly seen its challenges and for the first time in the history of our careers, every person, professional and leader understands what is meant by the term “crisis” and the impacts it can present to people, organizations and the economy.
As we close out this year and embark upon the journey that 2021 will present, it’s important that:
- We not miss out on the opportunities for growth and evolution.
- We recognize that the challenges of this year do not know a calendar year-end and that 2021 will see its own set of challenges to companies, organizations and our society.
The Answer: By Building a Crisis Ready Culture. But What Does That Mean?
Let’s face it. So much has changed and we are entering into 2021 with an abundance of both hope for a better year and uncertainties around what we can actually expect. But what is certain is that this is the beginning of an era of new challenges and complexities. The landscape is shifting and amongst other things, there’s now a higher level of expectations from stakeholders and the general public for more accountability, transparency in the process, and stronger leadership.
The world saw a lack of strong and effective leadership throughout this past year, from both the public and the private sectors, and moving into 2021 organizations need to be in a position to do better. Those who choose to put themselves in that position moving forward will experience tremendous opportunity for connection, growth, and sustainability.
Furthermore, in these highly volatile circumstances, you never know who within your team or organization will be the one to first detect an incident and, when they do, you want them to be confident and competent in taking the right course of action. This is where building a Crisis Ready® Culture comes into play, filling in gaps, empowering teams and strengthening the brand’s position as a leader within its industry.
Having a Crisis Ready® Culture means that your entire team is able to quickly detect, assess and respond to an incident in real-time, and that they’re trained and empowered to do so in a way that de-escalates the situation, mitigates material impact on the organization, and strengthens the trust and credibility in your brand.
The good news is that Crisis Readiness is a learnable skill that puts your organization, your team, in the best possible position to transform real-time challenges into real-time opportunities—a skill that will reap many rewards in the coming calendar year.
With this in mind, we asked our Crisis Ready Team to share their reasons as to why it’s important for organizations to pivot towards building a culture of crisis readiness going into 2021. Following is the insight, wisdom and foresight that they shared.
Reason 1: “Because It’s Those That Do Who Will Prevail, and Prevail Strong” – Melissa Agnes, Founder and CEO
There seems to be this sense that once the calendar year changes, the challenges of 2020 will be behind us. The truth is that 2021 is going to bear its own sets of struggles and challenges and, if 2020 has taught us anything (I hope) it’s that being blindsided by crisis and challenge is not the position that gives you the biggest advantage—far from it. Too many leaders and organizations, both corporate and government, were caught blindsided by COVID-19 and the challenges of 2020 when they didn’t have to be.
The Crisis Ready Institute is working to support leaders and professionals across industries, helping them build the skillsets required to excel in this era of change and challenge; an era that will continue well into 2021.
Reason 2: “An Era Of Overlapping, Nonstop, And Ever-Evolving Crisis Is Upon Us” – Chris Hsiung, Global Advisory Council Member
If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that crisis IS the new normal. Crisis resilient organizations can not only weather storms but can actually thrive and grow in the midst of it. In the same way that professional athletes hone their skills to develop muscle memory, so too can organizations develop a culture that can adapt, conquer, and instinctually respond to whatever comes at them.
This pandemic is no different. When we think about this crisis, we may be thinking about how to design an office for social distancing, how to return employees to work, and what employees need to better perform their jobs while they are at home. What we are really thinking about is our people and how do we keep them safe, healthy and engaged, because we know that putting our people first is the only way to successfully lead through this crisis in a way that benefits everyone.
Reason 3: “It Is a Question Of ‘When’, Not ‘If’ We Are Going To Need It” – Aaron Marks, Global Advisory Council Member
2020 is demonstrating that managing a crisis is not as simple or easy as a lot of people think it is. We are witnessing and experiencing the results of, interactions between science, logic, and emotion, that usually take place behind closed doors. We have watched decades of making the ‘easy’ decisions and neglecting the ‘hard’ ones come to roost. “It can’t happen here” has happened.
Now, we are watching decisions being made in real-time, with limited consideration, and with even less understanding of what we are dealing with and the possible unintended consequences of those decisions. And just to top everything off, the messaging around those decisions is being shaped by what is best for special interests as opposed to what is best for the whole community. 2020 is showing us the consequences of not being Crisis Ready®. If we do not learn the lessons that are being offered, then 2021 is going to provide the opportunity to learn them again, possibly with a heavier hand than we have already seen. More reason to start building a culture of crisis readiness now, if you have yet to do so. Why wait?
Reason 4: “It Drastically Shortens The ‘Discovery Period’” – Erick Anez, Global Advisory Council Member
I will say that in the highly technical and global landscape in which we operate today, there is an illusion of simplicity on how work gets done. In reality, the more we streamline and/or simplify work practices, the more complex and tightly coupled relationships (both human and technological) are created in order to achieve this “simplicity”.
In short, it is more beneficial to uncover these relationships and have a realistic view of how truly complex our operating environments are. By doing this, we drastically shorten the “discovery period” that follows a crisis. If done correctly—the Crisis Ready® way—an organization can start and end the recovery process sooner. Our Coaching Program dives deeper into this.
Reason 5: “It Is Essential In Order To Run Like A Well-Oiled Machine” – Ashley Davis, Global Advisory Council Member
After the year we have had, across the board and around the world, I cannot imagine why organizations would not pivot towards building a culture of crisis readiness going forward. If we have learned anything this year it is that building a solid foundation for any size organization consists of:
- Having the capacity and capability to streamline effective communication to all of your stakeholders;
- Being flexible and especially secure with a hybrid work environment;
- fostering multiple revenue channels; and
- Nurturing strategic partnerships.
These are essential strategies that all scream for the need to embed a Crisis Ready® Culture. So, if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to ask yourself and your leadership team why Crisis Readiness is not embedded into every strategic business discussion, at the very least?
Reason 6: “So that your entire organization is trained, capable and empowered” – Shireen Fabing, Business Development
The new ‘normal’ is both complex and here to stay. More than that, it offers opportunities into a new way of engagement. This includes the Crisis Ready® Rule No. 27: “Train and empower every team member to be skillfully Crisis Ready®”. Not only will leaders who practice this see an increased level of confidence from their teams, but also more trust from and credibility with their stakeholders.
Resources to Help You Build Out Your Crisis Readiness
These six quotes emphasize the urgency, the value and the rewards of being Crisis Ready®. Imagine a state where every member of your team is equipped with the skills and capabilities to transform real-time challenges into real-time opportunities that strengthen your reputation, your operations and your brand. This is the ultimate goal of Crisis Readiness, and what your organization needs going into 2021.
With the goal of helping to equip you further, following are some great resources to get you started in taking strides towards ingraining a Crisis Ready® Culture and securing your organization, your team and your brand in 2021.
- Gift yourself or someone else a copy of Melissa Agnes’s book, Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World. Named the top 2 crisis management book of all time by Book Authority, this book provides the precise roadmap for developing and integrating a Crisis Ready Culture—and it does so in a fun and light way. If you’d like your book autographed by Melissa, contact us and we’ll be glad to set you up!
- Enroll in the Crisis Ready® Coaching Program where we provide you and your team with the strategic support, insight, and training required to navigate the complexities of the current state of the world, while gearing up to take on the world of tomorrow. We do this by elevating your team’s skills, your organization’s capabilities, and your brand’s overall resilience to lead into an even stronger tomorrow.
- Join the Crisis Ready Community. Become a part of a vast network of exceptional leaders across all sectors, corporate to public, and industries from consultants to professors. Here you can expect to strengthen your skills, tap into diverse expertise and knowledge, and nourish your Crisis Readiness. The Community hosts monthly mastermind sessions where we discuss world trends, challenge the status quo, support one another’s initiatives, exchange knowledge, and celebrate community. Be engaged in and with the conversations, break out of your silos, gain support, learn and collaborate with many others who share the same passion and challenges as you do with regards to all aspects of issue management, crisis management, and crisis communication. You can undoubtedly be successful by yourself, but we can be game-changers together. Join us in creating a crisis resilient world together as a community.
Agnes, Melissa. Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World. Virginia: Mascot Books, 2018.