One of the things I do is help leaders manage the mess, communicate in crisis and prepare to move forward. It’s really critical that we all put facts over fear and practice good communication. Some of our leaders do this naturally. Not all. So here is a list, in order, of what I suggest. The bold items are the steps every time. The normal type is specific to the coronavirus.
I’m around if you need help or a safe place.
In the meantime, take care of you. Enjoy the sun. This is not fun but will not last forever.
All the best,
CRISIS MANAGEMENT BASICS
Make sure everyone is physically safe at least for the near term. – no press conferences in burning buildings or center of hurricanes
Speak with one, clear, simple voice. Anxiety makes it hard to hear and retain information so make it simple. Think about the short clear messages we use for other things like “call 911” if someone is hurt, “stop drop and roll” in a fire and now, “wash your hands, keep your distance.”
Share what you know and what you don’t
- It’s a virus
- It’s spread easily by air and surfaces
- It takes up to 14 days to develop
- It is mild for most but dangerous for two group
- those 60 and over
- those with underlying immune or lung issues – diabetes, heart disease, asthma, COPD, etc, regardless of age
We don’t know:
- how many people have been exposed because of how long it takes to develop and lack of testing
- how many people have it, because of lack of testing
- a real mortality rate until we know those things
Therefore, assume most people have been exposed either directly or to someone else who was.
Anticipate fears and be prepared to address them. These will vary by the role you play and where but some might be:
- will I be safe
- will I get paid
- will I have a job
- when will this go back to normal
- how will we work on x or y during this time – email, slack, zoom, etc
Provide clear direction
- Wash your hands
- Clean surfaces – doors, handles, phones, keyboards
- Keep your distance
- Have enough basics – food, soap, entertainment, and okay, toilet paper for two weeks.
- Call don’t go to your doctor if you think you are sick. If none, urgent care. The point is to call first.
If you don’t know admit it and let people know how you will follow up. No faking it, it destroys trust. Say you don’t know and what you will do to answer – find out, wait, and so forth.
Then take care of you
- Start with the same list.
- Follow what’s happening – within limits. Once every couple of hours. Continuous watching will make your brain feel like it’s happening over and over.
- Take social breaks – quiet time.
- Create your safe team – the people you can be anxious with, you are human too.
- Exercise, play music, paint – whatever gives you joy