I am currently taking “Managing in Adversity” class because I heard many excellent reviews. Basically if you are in Sloan, you MUST take this class. I’ve only been to 3 classes but oh man, it is definitely one of my favourites if not the best class I have taken.
It is extremely useful and applicable in real life.
You learn about actual crisis and you learn from the CEO himself/herself how he/she managed the adversity. But before he reveals it, we will have to read the case and come up with a recommendation to the Board on how to solve the crisis, imagine you are the CEO. So that includes laying out the situation, coming up with options, evaluating the options suggested and finally recommending the next course of action or a plan. Very very useful indeed, it helps you expand your horizon and put you in a spot where you will never imagine going through it. So for example, the first case we did was on the Boston Bombing. Imagine you have to come up with a plan on how to catch the terrorist. It’s terrifying.
Anyway, among all the 3 cases we have done, there is one learning that I find extremely useful and applicable in any types of crisis. Of course it brought me back to how I had to handle a crisis back at work.
In any crisis, the very first thing you need to do is to stop the bleeding to stabilize the company. Then only think and plan about the kind of analysis required, the next immediate steps for medium to long term impact, etc.
The mistake we always do is spend so much time doing analysis figuring what, why, and how the crisis happened. Often times, we will end up in an analysis paralysis situation.
Imagine how doctors treat their high-risk emergency type of patients. The concept is just as similar.
Stop the bleeding first.
But guess what action do we normally have to take to stop the bleeding?
If a company is bleeding, it means the company is losing money. So the first thing we have to do is to cut cost. And the cost that can be cut immediately for an immediate impact is employee cost. Yes, laying off people is almost always the first thing to do to stop the bleeding, to stabilize the company.
The action is easy but the act of doing it is difficult. What a paradox. But such is life. Sometimes we have to make a difficult decision in order to survive.
Till my next post, which is tomorrow.