Primal instinct

Some crises are ok to be handled quickly and instinctively. A central brain takes control, and gives instructions to the rest of the body on what to do.

If the building is on fire, an alarm will ring to tell everyone to get out.

If a person points a gun at you, you take cover.

If you see a red traffic light, you stop.

If the boat is sinking, the personnel takes the lead and everyone follows.

If the deadline is tomorrow, you stick to the plan somebody else might have drafted.

Most of the crises we meet day after day, though, are not really this kind of crises. They involve multiple people, they feature moving pieces, feelings, and opinions, they depend on personal preferences and environmental circumstances.

They are complex.

Of course, we still want to react quickly and instinctively. We want to take control and centralize decision-making, pass on instructions (to ourselves and others), and make the crisis go away. We do want that so much, that often we frame as “crisis” even fairly normal situations, just so that we can avoid thinking and start (re)acting.

That’s seldom the best thing to do.

Most crises and difficulties are actually the right moment to open up.

To ask questions, explore possibilities, hear what others would do or have done in similar circumstances, try something and possibly change direction if it’s not working, make mistakes and learn.

By all means, a decision will have to eventually be taken, and actions will have to follow. But to overcome the first, ready-made decision the brain is offering, you’ll have to be as open as you possibly can.

So, if your marketing campaign is not working, if sales are stagnating, if your product gets more negative than positive feedback, if customer service cannot keep up, if a team member is unhappy, if you did not get the funding you were expecting.

Move past your primal instict.

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