Monday, October 16, 2006

Step One in Crisis Management

"There is no use crying over spilled milk." However, in this simple, and accessible example of crisis management, we all take the same first step. The first step in dealing with spilled milk, and really any crisis management is to get up out of your chair. It seems to be an obvious first step. It comes before get a towel or move papers out of the way. You have to get up. Translating this simple lesson to any leadership situation, especially in a crisis: you have first decide to act, and then prepare to act. You can decide what to do later, but you have to stand up first.

Lead on.


Max Leibman said...


I thought the first thing to do was swear.

Seriously, though, I like your point here. And I think the metaphor goes even further. What do you do next? Go for the closest thing to wipe with--whether that's a towel, napkins, or your shirt--or go get the best possible towel or cloth for the job? Do you wipe first, or immediately pick up anything that has (or will get) milk on it? Do you do crowd control on pets or children, or let them worry about it? Not everybody would prioritize the same, but almost everybody would quickly, intuitively choose a next action and GO!, and virtually everybody will come out the far end with the milk sopped up and a minimum of real damage.

The question is, do these ideas--we generally know what to do, and as long as we stand up and act decisively it usually works--scale back up out of the metaphor?

Ken Flowers said...

You predicted the "step two" article.

Troy Worman said...

Lead on, indeed!

As a process person, I am compelled to suggest the addition of Step 0 - Have a plan!

These times are nothing if not chaotic. The world seems to be in a perpetual mode of crisis management.

Max Leibman said...

Only because you set it up so well! I look forward to reading more.