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Getting Out of Crisis Management Mode

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Crisis Management Mode

One of the really common questions that we get from Asian Efficiency client and readers is: How do I get out of Crisis Management mode?

This brief article will show you exactly how to do that.

You’ve probably hear the term “Crisis Management Mode” before. It’s that time at work, or during a difficult personal time, where you draw on your inner resources, your gut and your intuition to help guide you through a tough situation.

And most of the time, this is great – everyone has a few times in their lives where this is absolutely necessary, and where amazing results can be achieved for those who pull through.

The problem lies in when we are forced into being in Crisis Management Mode all the time, which unfortunately is commonly becoming the de facto way that a lot of people run their life and business.

Why being in Crisis Management Mode all the time is a problem

When you’re in Crisis Management Mode, you’re running around putting out fires – all the time. And as you put out one fire, another usually starts up.

At let’s face it – it’s not a lot of fun to have everything around you burning into ashes all the time.

To be a little less metaphorical, the way this looks at work or in a project, is that things keep on end up being handled at the very last minute. And they just keep coming and coming – it’s like there are problems everywhere, but we don’t see them until they become visible. And by then, they’re already on fire and burning down while we try to deal with everything else going on.

And every single fire or problem, is a distraction that derails you from what you really need to be focusing on. And unfortunately, all these distractions cannot just be ignored or blocked out – because they’re no longer small annoyances, but big, glaring problems that absolutely must be handled.

So what happens, is that we start our day with good intentions to get focused and productive work done. But then one thing comes up. And then another. And before we know it, half the day – if not the whole day – has flown by.

And it becomes almost impossible to get back on track, because there is NO track – it’s just one emergency or crisis after the other, and that becomes our normal operating mode.

What can we do about this?

Now that you know about WHY operating in Crisis Management Mode is so bad for you, let’s look at some ways to get out of it and to prevent it from happening again in the future.

Here are 2 really easy ways to get started.

Note: In the long term, you want to undergo a fundamental mindset shift that takes you to a point where you’re unconsciously undergoing actions that handle those “invisible” problems and prevent emergencies from arising in the first place. But let’s leave that for the Productivity Blueprint.

1. Kill the monster while it’s little.

Little Monster

The first thing you can proactively do to handle crises-in-advance is to kill problems when they first arise. A simple way to do this is to handle backlog on a regular basis, so that things don’t slip through the cracks and accumulate… and light on fire.

We can do this through having good systems, by staying on top of things, and by having reliable technology and processes that work defined in advance.

2. Learn to handle the bigger monsters

Big Monster

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, little monsters survive and grow up to become big monsters. This is OK. All we need to do is know how to handle them without letting them derail us (too much).

We call this Handling Work Day Emergencies and you can read about it here.

What this actually means is sizing up the problem/monster, taking inventory of your resources, handling it, and then smoothly picking up where you last left off on your other tasks.

In Closing

Getting out of Crisis Management Mode isn’t hard – it just takes a little bit of advanced planning, some good habits, some predefined processes (handling backlog + handling work day emergencies) and a longer-term outlook to make this all an automatic response.

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2 Comments

Posted by Andy Bland  | February 25, 2014 at 1:55AM | Reply

Yes. Developing the proper mindset is the key. And learn to face your inner demons.

Posted by Steffen  | February 21, 2014 at 7:13AM | Reply

great thoughts. i think Getting Out of Crisis Management Mode is essential for a healthy business. when you’re a firefighter you are not self-employed. you are employed, and your boss is the problem. the problem is your boss.

to be the boss yourself you need to get from reactive to proactive again.

i myself had good results with just adding a final step to the “Crisis Management Mode”. it was just asking myself:”which steps can i take immediatly to prevent this problem from ever happening again?”.

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