A typical statement of managers who have overcome a critical or a crisis situation is “We are coming out of this crisis invigorated.” I always ask myself “What does that mean? What did they do to invigorate?” Let us first describe the three main phases of a typical crisis for a company:
We can define the three phases of a crisis as the downturn, the low point of the crisis, and the recovery phase. To assure that we will come out of the crisis invigorated requires specific action in every phase.
In this phase we have to make sure the company is not struggling financially. This normally means keeping cash in-house. We have to reduce the stock, keep labor costs reasonable and reduce all budgets as much as possible. We have also to define the actions necessary to overcome the crisis make sure we are not weakening the company during this time.
Low point of the crisis:
During this time we have to use the limited resources available to assure the recovery of the company. This may involve developing new products, changing the organization, or whatever else is necessary to eliminate the weak points of the company. This is always a balance between available cash, needs, and necessary resources. A motivated workforce who believes we can manage the crisis will secure our success. The longer a crisis lasts, the more dangerous this phase is. This is also the time to plan the actions for the recovery phase.
In the recovery phase, we must enact the plans made in the earlier phases. These actions will involve hiring (or rehiring) and training employees and applying the changes worked out during downturn phase.
The company can use the crisis and be able to say after the recovery “Our company comes out of this crisis invigorated.”
The management of a crisis is the most stressful time for a company’s management. The decisions are hard and often it is necessary to make decisions that have high impact on the employees. During the phase in which such decisions are necessary, the management has to have the recovery conditions already in mind. However, a company can come out of a crisis invigorated, if the management takes the right decisions.
See also: http://www.managementism.com/2012/how-to-follow-the-volatility-of-markets-with-a-production-plant/