Management by Crisis


How many times do you have the mandate to drop everything and focus on a single task? Something burning so badly that everything else has to slip in order to get it done?

That is management by crisis.

Trouble is, when you do that – you end up laying the ground work for the next management by crisis situation. It happens at work (“Get this done by 5PM or else…”) and at home (“Family is coming over – we need to clean the whole house!”) and nobody likes it.

So how do you get out of this loop? Here’s 6 steps to help:

  1. Recognize It: Many people don’t even see the reality of their own situation… they’re stressed out and feeling behind the curve – those are usually signs of disorganization and lack or prioritization
  2. Externalize It: Get it all down on paper or a document – by writing down a list of what’s outstanding, backlogged or even completely non-existent, you are taking the first step to bringing clarity to the situation.
  3. Organize and Prioritize It: Take that list and rank the items – now you’re identifying the required actions to deal with this mess.
  4. Identify It: Make a check beside all the items you have control over and can handle yourself. Identify the one’s you’re waiting from others on, mark off the ones that are completely out of your control.
  5. Do It: Initiate the action and get some things done, or some progress made.
  6. Repeat It: Customize this system and use it. When new stuff comes down the pipe, have it fit into your work flow.

It’s an internal decision to let things happend to you, or make things happen. You and the people around you want results and not reasons, so take the first step.


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