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4 Answers Response Leaders Know … Before Everyone Else

I frequently ponder the role of leadership during a crisis.

Among other things, I've concluded that there are 4 answers that successful response leaders consistently know before everyone else.

Keep reading for these common questions and answers.

I'm hoping you'll recognize some of your own leadership 'style' in some of them, too! (Keep reading, below ...)

# 1 What’s the issue?

Knowing which problem to solve is an essential building block and one that dictates the speed and efficacy of future steps.

  • Successful Crisis Response Leaders have a keen eye for swiftly learning how big and how bad the issue is.
  • They immediately deploy people and things in order to report back as much relevant situational awareness as possible.
  • They know, understand and can filter bulk information into usable and actionable intelligence.

Once they have decent intelligence, however imperfect, the supporting data may be, they can build, contribute to and lead an effective response.

# 2 What objectives are needed to solve this issue?

The Successful Crisis Response Leader is intimately familiar with the overarching priorities of the organization.

They are typically things like:

  • “Life Safety” and
  • “Continuity of Operations” and
  • “Protection of Key Assets”, etc.

They use these priorities to develop objectives.

Objectives are simply “solutions that describe a future condition”.

  • The people that manage the incident from the top down have objectives … AND
  • The operations people that solve the incident from the ground up have objectives.

Therefore these objectives should be unified, complementary and should be specific and achievable.

Successful Crisis Response Leaders create, understand and embrace these collective objectives and use them to guide the entire response to a successful conclusion.

# 3 Who and what needs to be here helping me with this issue?

Because their intelligence is solid, Successful Crisis Response Leaders are better prepared to know what functional resources are needed to bring about the desired end state.

  • There are people likely available to help now and there are people that may need to be requested.
  • Knowing in advance who and how many people in their midst have the right skills for the job at hand enables them to utilize them right away to address each objective.
  • If an objective was identified that doesn’t have the right people to address it, they know where and how to find and request the right people.
  • They may be on staff, they may be on someone else’s staff or they may be vetted volunteers from outside traditional outlets.

Successful Crisis Response Leaders use authority and collaboration to achieve their common objectives.

# 4 How do we know when we’re at a stopping point in solving this issue?

Successful Crisis Response Leaders always use the previous stated Objectives as a touchstone for progress.

  • They also communicate effectively with the different stakeholders so that they know when those from afar are happy with the results of their response.
  • That is why they're a Successful Crisis Response Leader. Now and in the future.
  • Since they also started with familiarity with the overall priorities, it’s easier to know the moment that a solution has been reached ... or the cost of pursuing the solution exceeds the cost of the issue.
  • Because of that, they can return the organization to normal operations knowing that they all did the most good for the most people, property, and processes.

Successful Crisis Response Leaders - and everybody they included in the response - also sleep well knowing that they hit the same target they were aiming at.

It’s good to be a Successful Crisis Response Leader, right? They are usually the difference between a disjointed response and an effective response.

As we've seen, clear and specific objectives make our job quite a bit easier.

If you haven't already done so, be sure to download your free worksheet on using (and defining) Priorities, Objectives, Strategies, and Tactics to further improve the success of your own missions.

Mike McKenna

About the author

Mike McKenna is the founder and president of TEAM Solutions. He helps public and private sector leaders improve their outcomes before, during and after a planned event or unplanned crisis.Please contact Mike via the Contact page.

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