Crises rarely go away by themselves – their natural lifecycle is one of escalation, so knowing how to deal with them in advance is a valuable skill to learn
1 Orderly conduct
When chaos strikes, different people react in different ways. Some panic, others look for personal advantage. Hopefully, there will also be some skilled enough to take control and restore order. Mini crises happen every day – observing how small incidents are dealt with provides an opportunity to train for the real thing. You will see that panic is pointless, and that short-term gains resulting from others’ misfortunes often lead to longer-term problems.
2 Going up
Learning how to handle a crisis is a very valuable skill. The main characteristic of a crisis is speed – you don’t have much time to sort things out. You must get to the heart of the problem quickly and prioritise what needs to be tackled immediately and what can wait. The worst thing to do is nothing. Crises rarely go away by themselves – their natural lifecycle is one of escalation. A crisis is not always unexpected. Many creep up quietly and can be contained if spotted early.
3 Safety first
If things do go badly wrong, and the crisis could harm people or property, then prioritise the safety of individuals and try to limit the extent of any damage. In a well-managed organisation there will be clear crisis management procedures, and if those exist stick to them. If you have no guidelines to follow then you will have to rely on common sense. But gain a consensus first – cross-check that others share your sense of the right thing to do. This is much safer than going it alone.