Over the last two weeks I have had to lead a crisis training for some of my company’s leadership teams.
It’s a lot of work and a lot of focus … and, unfortunately, really makes you think of the worst when we get into the “What if …” scenarios.
The training is an obvious necessity to help guide thinking if we did face a recall or an active shooter or something of the same grisly natures. It helps promote a quick-thinking mentality.
Kind of like parenting.
Because these crisis trainings are in a controlled environment and with leading questions it helps make each situation flow. However, if we were faced with an actual crisis then some of this goes out the window the moment adrenaline kicks in.
Whether it’s working on what to do, or oftentimes, what to say … living out an actual crisis is much different.
Just like dealing with a child.
I don’t think I’ve recalled one iota of information from the baby books we read pre-birth. I certainly haven’t read many helpful guides since.
My training, so to speak, has been of the in-the-moment, all-hands-on-deck variety. You go with your gut and hope that whatever moral compass you have points your decisions in the right direction.
Similar to a work scenario. You can go through all the materials, all the scenarios, but it will never mirror what actually happens, step-by-step. After the first wave, you can pause and lean on some of those sessions, but there is always the immediate “Oh shit!” moment when you’re in the trenches.
If I had a dime for each “Oh shit!” moment I’ve had as a father, I wouldn’t be writing this from my third bedroom. I’d be writing it from my third yacht.
They come and go, obviously, and you just hope your reputation isn’t tarnished. Speaking as a father now, not as a company – although both are true. You don’t want to be known as the hard-ass father who only gets angry and uses the F word as an adjective and a verb (I’m very proud of this as a fact of myself … but I have not ventured into this sort of syntax as a dad).
We opened a nice bottle of Pinot the other night and for whatever reason my three-year-old walked by the glasses on the table and stuck out her left elbow – almost as if she meant to knock the glass off the table.
She immediately started crying. Because in the past I have gotten angry. And I was again. Hell, you would be too as you watched delicious adult grape juice splash on your living room rug and floor.
In the heat of the moment you may put your foot in your mouth. Speaking as a company now, not as a father – although both are true.
We’ve all seen poorly handled crisis press conferences. Our work trainings include tips on how to avoid them.
We’ve all poorly handled our personal crises at home. I know I have … thus, the immediate wine spill reaction. She was ready for the red-faced, red-assed father.
It never came.
I got down and mopped up the spill. I explained to her that shit happens (in so many words) and to just be careful. Not everything is a crisis despite our initial reaction.
It’s something I never learned in a book but just by living out my life now with a small human being constantly – truly, constantly! – around, it’s now a learned behavior.
I never want to be in a work situation where a crisis is more of a shoulder shrug reaction therefore the trainings and the preparedness must continue.
But sometimes we all must realize that life goes on. Shit happens. And all in all, we must keep calm and carry on.