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.


Walking Meetings


For the next meeting you hold – make it a walking meeting.

Walking meetings are exactly that – instead of sitting in an office or boardroom, get out of the building and hold your discussion as you walk around the immediate neighborhood. Spend the last 5 minutes back in the office – make the notes or take-away/action items required and get on with your day(s).

When weather isn’t on your side, try to get around your office or building space – anywhere that’s different from the normal workplace. Of course, it’s pretty hard to pull off a powerpoint this way, or a formal presentation, but you can incorporate a “walking time” into the meeting somewhere. Don’t be limited by “what we always do”.

I’ve found a lot of success with walking meetings – they get you and people up and get them moving and that gets them energized and thinking differently. Essestially, when you work in an office, you’re pretty much working like a Trucker – lots of sitting and staring. I’m sure you’ve all seen different management techniques for motivationg people – but what could be easier than a walking meeting to leverage the excercise and different pace (pun intended)? We’ve come up with some good ideas on walking meetings that I feed wouldn’t have come from the boardroom in the past.

LIke I said, it doesn’t work for every situation, but try to hold some walking meetings this week and take note of how they differ from traditional meetings. I’m sure you’ll find they bring something new and dynamic to your discussions.