Managing Business in Crisis

“Crisis” comes from a Greek word “Krisis” meaning decision actually. In daily life, it is commonly used when there is a time of intense difficulty or danger. Why that is so important to know? In the year of 2016-17, we constantly experience crises in different terms e.g. politics, war, social changes, global warming and so on. They all affect to business directly or indirectly. In my opinion, it is not new, it will not be ended in near future as well. There is even a saying by Mr. Kissinger: There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full. So, we have to learn how to run business in crises as Next Generation CEO.

Let me start with optimism. Good side is that crisis becomes visible as well as sensible to everybody. Thanks to social media and other PR related tools, we all know what is going on all over the World. The problem is how ready we are for the crisis in manner of interpretation, analyzing, understanding, acting towards crises. Even though being non-reactive is an option however I am not sure whether that move is strategic or not. There is a term of “new normal”. I think that exactly means for crisis. So, in our strategy, we have to determine the new normal. This uncertainty brings risk and opportunity at the same time.

I definitely recommend the following: please use crisis management in your strategic principles. It means a systematic approach for whole organization to analyze the effects of crisis as well as determining the actions to be taken. We should understand size, scope, and impact of crisis at first then analyze then prioritize the actions. Next Generation CEO needs to utilize crisis management in a quick way but no hurry.

The bad side of crisis is uncertainty. You do not know when this turbulent time goes away and it is hard to determine the effect overall. In this aspect, there are some key words need to be considered and focused. Tension, stress, stakeholders, strategy, communication, social world, digitalization, speed, change, flexibility are some of those words to be integrated with crisis. According to statistics, most of employees are observing the leaders’ behaviors as a response to crisis. So there is also a different aspect of crisis which is your behaviors as Next Generation CEO. The first thing you have to do is simplicity. It does not matter how complex the problem is, you have to simplify the things at the end of the day. This is ultimate key.

As usual, I will try to make it short strategy how to manage the business in crisis in 3 step-approach. First, determine the scope, potential impact, risk level of crisis. you can do it in your management circle. Secondly, create 3 different scenarios including risks and opportunities in a matrix showing key stakeholders vs effects. As a last step, simplify and pritorize the actions and communicate such a way calm, self esteem, no stress, and open.

Managing business in bad times is not easy job, however it is fun. Some countries like Turkey are even expert on this. We saw lots of crisis in different areas and society automatically knows how to react most of the time. That is good experience for CEOs as well. With the effect of digitalization, we will know how to create more flexible and simple mindset to response crisis in much efficient way. This is worth to place in strategy. The crisis of today is the ease of tomorrow.

Hakan Özdemir

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