Being an entrepreneur is not easy. When a crisis hits things get out of control then the only thing you can do is take charge. We talked to the CEO of IdeaPros, Fred Cary, about forgetting reasonable timelines and taking charge in times of crisis.
Think On Your Feet
An entrepreneurial journey is based on structure, patience, and methodic ways of doing things. Unless there is a crisis then everything goes out the window. All your plans seem futile. You find yourself on a roller coaster where everything moves in unexpected ways. When this happens, you need to be able to think on your feet. The old processes you usually deploy don’t work in a crisis.
“When your company is in crisis, you forget about the rules and do everything in your power to get through it, both short and long term.” – Fred Cary
Bring in the team and look at what’s happening. Make sure you are doing everything you can. Ask yourself what you have there at the moment and where you are at. Once you figure that out, you can start thinking about what is left to do, how to handle it, and what to do about it.
The very first thing involves analysis. Who are your players? What resources do you have? Collect those resources and put together an action plan of what you are going to do about it.
Take a Step Back
When we find ourselves in a crisis, we can only see the emergency of it. Bringing in other people with different perspectives can help come up with a solution.
Don’t do what you’re inclined to do. The first inclination when things go badly is to start swearing and bringing up lawsuits. You need to hold that back. Be cordial and see if you can work it out. Take the time you need to calm down and act professionally. Get the most out of the situation and teach your troops to do the same. Don’t point fingers. Understand the playing field and respond to crises in a way that makes sense and gets you where you want to go in the long run.
Try to understand what is the minimum you need to get through the situation. Be realistic and ready to negotiate. Knowing your minimum will help you stand your ground. Weigh the damage and try to minimize it.
Act like a general and stay cool. Forget the anger. Anger doesn’t solve anything. You can blame your co-workers, suppliers, China, or the government, but that won’t get you anywhere. Solutions come from calm, strategic thinking.
“Taking a deep breath, looking at where you are, how you got here, and what you’re going to do about it is the only thing that’s going to get you the solution that you need.” – Fred Cary
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Communicate with every one of the players involved. You need to be able to say, ”this is what I told you, what I was expecting, and what happened. And this is what we are going to do about it.” People have to know what’s happening to help you. Without communication, you are doomed.
The best piece of advice Fred’s got in his career is: Always do the right thing, even when it’s hard. If you do the right thing, no matter how painful it is, in the end, it is going to pay off. People appreciate honesty. When they know there was a plan, you communicate what happened and what you will do about it, they are ready to support you. When they know they can rely on you, they will step up to the plate and ask how they can help.
Learn From Crisis
Sometimes there are mistakes, but sometimes it is a macro thing you can’t control. Like a pandemic or a ship stuck in the Suez canal.
“Every single thing that you encounter has a lesson built into it.” – Fred Cary
Whether you could have anticipated or checked better before you started, you can learn from it and use it the next time around. Ask yourself where you can do things differently if something like this comes up again.
The lessons you learn along the way are critical information that makes you a better leader. When there is an emergency, you as a leader have to be in the trenches with your people. Getting your feet wet is the only way to get through the crisis.
The “Idea Pros” at IdeaPros have the resources, experience, and tools to help you at this step or any step in the entrepreneurial journey. We partner with entrepreneurs at any stage and who are ready to invest their ideas. Apply for an interview and let’s explore partnering together.