Carewithal Care Services

Managing Crisis

I have witnessed so many times in my career crisis being managed in a way that has not been effective. A few years ago I was asked to sum up how I implemented change to the CEO of a large corporate care provider. I came across this again today, and wanted to share it with my LinkedIn network. I hope that it will resonate with a few of you as it did him at the time that I wrote it.


I so often saw crisis capsize before improvements were evident through:

Crisis = a top down panic

Autocratic = management became autocratic, dictating what needs to happen

People = are sent in to check and fix, often the same support services that had been involved in the crisis occurring, leaving other services without support

Silence = these people then whisper behind closed doors with lack of effective communication to the people they need to get on board

Ideas = people start implementing their own ideas, new forms, new visions, and in effect rebranding

Zealous = people become overzealous, their enthusiasm becoming quite intense, which could overkill the situation and was often driven by their own ego

Education = over training can begin

When I was asked to support the crisis situation I implemented effective change through clarity:

Crisis = required stability and consistency

Leadership = through coaching and engaging the team

Acceptance = pulling away from the why’s to acceptance that crisis had occurred and leading people to their own acknowledgement of accountability

Realistic = being realistic on what could be achieved, how, by when and by whom; ensuring this was communicated effectively for whole team understanding

Intuitive = through knowledge and guidance, using company policies and procedures effectively to gain buy in without the need for reinventing the wheel

Tenacity = taking and keeping control of the situation, knowing my own limitations and communicating this where required to ensure that the grip was not lost

Yearning = through a real passion and dedication to meet the vision

CLICK Compliance and Crisis

My aim is to support services before crisis occurs through recognising early indicators of concern, putting actions in to place, and learning lessons to embed in to future improvements.

The beginning of leadership failure can be recognised through understanding the Nut Island Effect.

The Nut Island Effect – 5 steps to Failure – Paul F Levy (2001)

1.    Management, its attention riveted on high-visibility problems, assign a vital, behind-the-scenes task to a team and gives that team a great deal of autonomy. Team member self select for a strong work ethic and an aversion to the spotlight. They become adept at organising and managing themselves, and the unit develops a proud and distinct identity.

2.    Senior management take the team’s self-sufficiency for granted and ignores team members when they ask for help or try to warn of impending trouble. When trouble strikes, the team feels betrayed by management and reacts with resentment.

3.    An us-against-the-world mentality takes hold in the team, as isolation heightens it’s sense of itself as a band of heroic outcasts. Driven by the desire to stay off managements radar screen, the team grows skilful at disguising its problems. Team members never acknowledge problems to outsiders or ask them for help. Management is all too willing to take the team’s silence of a sign that all is well.

4.    Management fails in its responsibility to expose the team to external perspectives and practises. As a result, the team begins to make up its own rules. The team tells itself that the rules enable it to fulfil it’s mission. In fact, these rules mask grave deficiencies in the team’s performance.

5.    Both management and the team form distorted pictures of reality that are very difficult to correct. Team members refuse to listen when well meaning outsiders offer help or attempt to point out the problems and deficiencies. Management, for its part, tells itself that no news is good news and continues to ignore team members and their task. Management and the team continue to shun each other until some external event breaks the stalemate.