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As everyone knows, crisis situations can, and do, occur on any project during any stage of development and/or at any time. "Planning before Panic" during a crisis is the key to keeping oneself motivated to continue and create a successful (and profitable) business outcome.

One of my recent examples was a project with, of course, an extremely tight deadline. Having been informed of a critical path system failure on beta testing, late on a Friday afternoon, I saw a "critical situation" developing. Because the nature of our business is dependent upon so many variables, this scenario can, and will, intermittently occur even with the best of planning. Having a Crisis Management Plan in place, allowed me to seize the opportunity to show my client what we could really do.

First step:

Convening the Action Team- Our team was immediately contacted and made aware that their full attention was priority number one at this time. We had a challenge that superseded all other work during its resolution.

Second step:

Fill the coffee pot night and day-More difficult than I ever thought!

Third step:

Guarantee the team that long sessions of meeting the deadline were at hand and complete confidence in delivering success was assured.

Our team(s) spent several days doing 20-hour work sessions; grabbing little available sleep, leading to another long day, and a little more sleep. Giving the project this type of total commitment led to the client's personal thanks and loyalty not only because of our expertise, but also our dedication and personal service. His professional satisfaction with the product led to an errorless, multi-state, 450 location corporate distribution!

The question is: How did we do it?

The simple steps below outline the management technique that worked for us during those long hours.

1. Identify, define and prioritize the immediate challenges to resolve One of the distinguishing marks of the good manager and corporate leader is the ability to identify, define and prioritize critical challenges to be resolved under crisis conditions. In our case, some of these were:

2. Identify the Solution(s)

3. Implement the solution(s)


4. Capture My Client's Faith 

Always make every effort to make good on clients' deadlines. Even when it is a tough haul and the specifications have changed, do your best to properly set the clients' expectations as to product delivery dates and performance.

Innovative solutions, ongoing client communication, and a disciplined, well-constructed approach to crisis management will continue to set companies apart from the others that think "inside the box". When deadlines are tough, and "by the book" thinking only slows us down, always remember there are alternative ways to succeed at the same task. By developing a repertoire or portfolio, of challenges faced and met, we develop a faster, more accurate and successful means of actualizing our goals. These Crisis Management hints sets us apart in our competitive marketplace. Clients will return to us many times over as they gain confidence and our work assures credibility and reliability. By applying this plan to our daily management tasks, we learn to manage well during a crisis!