Business Crisis Management

Business Crisis Management

If you spend more of your time putting out fires than doing your work, you are managing by crisis.

Management by crisis is a phrase used to describe the common problem of allowing unexpected events, interruptions, problems, or emergencies to dictate your priorities and actions.

Effective crisis management is such an important skill to have and of course, use; It is an essential skill of effective time managers, because unexpected things do happen in every business, every day. Sometimes we do need to react quickly to a crisis and contain it before it does more damage. The problem comes when crisis management becomes the routine rather than the exception. If you spend more of your time putting out fires than doing your work, you are managing by crisis.

When crisis management becomes the routine, it can easily lead to what Stephen Covey refers to as “Urgency Addiction.” People that are addicted to urgency, enjoy putting out fires, they like stepping in and solving problems, and their bosses often reward them for doing so. They have no incentive to avoid or prevent the fires, because they get a payoff every time they put one out.

To eliminate the worst practice of management by crisis, you need to take two important steps. First, you must distinguish between a real crisis — which is something important that requires your immediate attention — and other lesser problems, events, or interruptions that do not qualify as a true crisis.

The second key step is to realize that when crisis management becomes the routine rather than the exception, it’s usually pointing to a more fundamental problem that needs to be solved. There is an old Chinese proverb that says: “The superior doctor prevents sickness. The mediocre doctor attends to impending sickness. The inferior doctor treats sickness.” Don’t just treat the symptoms of the latest crisis, cure the underlying disease and prevent it from recurring. This is most often achieved by applying a system-based solution to the problem i.e. installing a procedure to eliminate the problem forever, rather than a band-aid approach to fix it once. Awareness of how much time in your day (read, ‘your life’) is being lost to ‘Management by Crisis’ is the key to motivating you to spending the initial time to get it right.

Have a great week,

Peter Johnson – The Time Retriever  –  www.timeretrievers.com.au


Peter is an experienced business coach who has been working with over 158 businesses and childcare centres, and thousands of people in his workshops and speaking engagements.

He found that another of the big issues for business owners, is the lack of knowledge and skill on how to employ high quality team members .

He has helped business owners create successful businesses, through first developing their time management skills and then using these skills, plus many others, to grow and develop the critical areas of their businesses.

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A Fish Rots From The Head Down

A Fish Rots From The Head Down

This is an old proverb that the true source of where it came from is difficult to establish.

 But how does it relate to you and your organisation?

Well in todays world, the saying “The Fish Rot’s From The Head Down” is used as an analogy for a business that is running poorly. It is saying that the problems with the business start at the top, with the leader of the business. 

It is suggesting that if, as the leader of your business, you are seeing that the business is running poorly, the staff have the wrong attitude etc, then you need to look within yourself to start finding the problem and the solution.

When a business is running poorly, it is very rare that the problem can be resolved from the employee’s up, it is the leader of the business who needs to be able to recognise the problem and instigate the changes needed to change the results of the business.

You need to step back and take a look at your business; are there any problems you can see? There may be problems in small areas, or the whole business. They will generally be noticed in the attitudes of some team members or all off them.

If you do see issues, take some time to determine what their cause is, this cause may even be the way you treat or communicate with your team, if it is, you will need to change the way you manage your team.

You may even seek support from an external source to help you solve the issues.

I recall when I took over managing a service team of around 50 members, the previous manager had managed by fear and the team didn’t have the confidence to make key decisions and were resentful of management. It took over 18 months to regain the teams respect in management and to have them develop the confidence to make decisions within their areas of expertise.

Good people managers/leaders are prepared to recognise their errors and change their ways. Poor managers/leaders cover up their errors in their ways and blame their team.

Good managers/leaders have less team issues and more time to get their stuff done.

If you need to find out more on how your leadership of your team affects your time management skills, just message me.

Have a great week. 

Peter Johnson – The Time Retriever

To find out more about what skills you need to take back control of your day, register for our FREE online workshop,

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