What do you do with Crisis?.
Do you go through a crisis without the intention of learning? I always believe that in every crisis there is always something to be learnt, more like saying, in every disadvantage, there is an advantage.
A crisis is any event that is or expected to lead to an unstable and dangerous situation affecting an individual, group, community, or whole society. A crisis is deemed to be negative changes in security, economic, political, societal, or environmental affairs, especially when they occur abruptly, with little or no warning. More loosely, it is a term meaning ‘a testing time’ or an ’emergency event’.
On the other hand, Knowledge is a fact, information, and skills acquired through experience or education and through the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. Knowledge is also a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which is acquired through experience or education by discovering or learning.
“Crises and deadlocks when they occur have at least an advantage, they force us to think.”Jawaharlal Nehru.
Going by the recent events in the world, there is no need for breaking my head in search of an example of a crisis. The global pandemic is enough crisis. It has been a big blow to the world’s economy these past months. The world is facing its first major pandemic.
Nevertheless, many philosophers and deep thinkers have observed that every crisis has a silver lining.
Rahm Emanuel said, “Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean is that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
“Something good comes out of every crisis.”Dave Pelzer. With these quotes from great men, there is no doubt that there’s knowledge to be gained in every crisis. There is no better example of crisis than the current global pandemic and as such, it will be used as a case study in this article, to better drive home my points.
It will be highly insensitive to ignore the fact that the global pandemic really came with hard blows. It has created a crisis of health and financial markets that are disrupting the lives of almost everyone on planet earth. We lost friends and relatives, we still have the number of affected patients on the increase on a daily basis.
Thousands of people have been rendered jobless and more is expected. The pandemic has taken a world that was safe and secure for many and forced us to confront a new world that is ever-changing, unfamiliar, unpredictable, uncertain, uncomfortable, and uncontrollable. It elicits a wide range of unpleasant emotions including fear, worry, doubt, frustration, anger and anguish.
Although the pandemic has brought severe economic, social and healthcare challenges, it has also created opportunities for unprecedented innovation and collaboration. Over the past few weeks, African countries have had to innovate, learn to adapt and work in different ways to what we’ve become accustomed to. Many organizations are responding to global pandemic by developing rapid-response funding mechanisms, resources, and revised grant policies. This is requiring staff and others to make extremely fast decisions and implement new policies and practices almost overnight.
Crisis can bring out our best and worst instincts. On the positive side, we see many people, communities, businesses, and officials bonding together to cope, solving problems, supporting their communities, and finding innovative ways to respond to the current crisis. There are great stories about individual and collective heroics, such as the Seattle community turning soccer fields into space for hospital beds and 400,000 people in the United Kingdom signing up, in less than 24 hours, to volunteer.
People are volunteering to make masks, crowdsourcing medical supplies, delivering food, and participating in clinical trials for a vaccine. The medical community is putting all hands on deck, including retirees and medical students.
Governors and local leaders are scampering and being resourceful to secure or produce desperately needed medical equipment and supplies. If not for the crisis, who would have thought that so much cooperation can exist in the world?
In as much as Crisis is naturally known to be a negative event, in it lies lessons and knowledge worth gaining.
Below are some important lessons and knowledge that comes with Crisis:
This is the ability to foresee and prepare wisely for the future. It also entails anticipating and being prepared to adjust with changes. Before crisis strikes, it’s either the signs have been there or predicted beforehand. For individuals, organisations or countries with foresight, they are not taken unawares but the reverse is always the case for those without foresight.
A big challenge for leaders in business, government, or anywhere is to look forward rather than backward. Most leaders got to where they are because they were great at execution, not anticipation. In a fast-changing, dynamic world, both are required. Jong-Yoon Chun, the CEO of Seegene, a molecular biotech company in South Korea, is a good example. Even before the country’s first confirmed coronavirus case, he made the bold, forward-thinking decision to channel efforts toward developing a test kit. They prepared in advance in case of any occurrence.
Prior to this current pandemic, other forms of the crisis has been predicted where warnings, data, and forecasts went unheeded until the crisis struck.
In the case of this pandemic, epidemiologists have been remarkably apt at predicting the spread and rate of the virus but due to the fact that many world leaders lack foresight, the response to set up preventive measures have been rather too disappointing. Too many leaders know what is coming but, unlike Seegenes Chun, they wait to act until it is here and now the virus has gotten out of control.
In response to the current outbreak, Singapore’s government, for instance, speedily closed borders and deployed significant resources, in terms of people and technology, to tracing the contacts of people diagnosed with the virus early, which is widely thought to have slowed the spread of the virus there.
This is unlike the Nigerian government for instance. Nigeria would have averted the spread of the virus if only the borders were shut without many delays. This act only points to the lack of foresight. This pandemic will certainly teach people the importance of foresight. That is one knowledge that is gained from the crisis.
When faced with a crisis, rapid actions are always taken for critical survival. These immediate actions bring about long-lasting changes even after the crisis. Situations like this call for immediate adaptation.
Adaptive leaders instantly shift their frame, plan, and priorities in the face of crisis. The pandemic has really affected the world’s economy. As a result, there have been a lot of changes and we’re left with no choice than to embrace the changes and adapt. For Instance, before the global crisis, there are many who has never experienced remote working but has been forced to adapt to working from home.
Personally, I never believed I could work from the comfort of my home until this pandemic. So far it’s been a fun thing for me, I don’t have to commute as usual and trust me, working from home has come to stay. There are many others who will not go back to the normal office settings after the pandemic. But for the crisis, a lot of individuals and organisations wouldn’t have realised the possibility of working from home.
Every crisis births innovation. New ideas are always created. You’ll agree with me that the current crisis we’re facing gave rise to new ideas. A common example is the production of nose masks. Before now who would have thought of producing locally made masks, but the pandemic pushed everyone into action. Tailors thought outside the box and came up with a substitute. Some individuals who had no idea on tailoring challenged themselves too.
When sanitizers became scarce, people improvised. In fact, the hand sanitizer we use was produced by my dad. My mother became an automatic herbalist. She made herbal medicines for family consumption. It wasn’t so difficult because I have virtually all herbal plants in my garden. We took it basically to boost the immune system. You can never know what you’re capable of until you’re in crisis.
This is the ability to bounce back from setbacks and failures.
This crisis tests the character, values, and larger purpose of leaders. Can you link your actions to a core mission related to your purpose? Current data from China, South Korea, Italy, and now even some areas in the United States seem to show that if leaders are clear, consistent, resilient, determined, and persistent in their response to the virus, the spread and increase of cases will slow. But leaders in all kinds of organizations will inevitably fail in efforts to cope, lead, and make tough and timely decisions. It’s what happens next that matters. Do they blame others for what went wrong, or take accountability and focus everyone on bouncing back immediately?
Entertainers are also being resilient and resourceful. Some have taken to recording live videos from home and posting on social media platforms in order to keep up the spirit and maintain connectivity with thousands of fans.
Children’s book author, Oliver Jeffers live-streamed himself reading books out loud to more than 250,000 followers on Instagram. DJs, comedians, and other performers are live-streaming performances to reach their large audiences, raise awareness, and promote resilience.
I know lots of entrepreneurs who have shifted to organising Webinars. No time to sit back waiting for the pandemic to be over so that they can go back to organizing seminars.
The question is, will you crash with the crisis or you will still continue to show up strong, regardless? The good thing is that people are wiser, some organizations are still at their best.
5. INCREASED ATTENTION IN AN ORGANIZATION
In times of crisis, the level of cooperation and creativity in the team rises because there is greater attention of all. The sense of urgency dominates the working atmosphere and most of the time everyone intervenes to solve the problem or achieve the goal.
Once the crisis has been overcome, the normal work routine is started. Here, it is important to use the crisis to take a step towards sustainable performance in order to generate committed cooperation on a sustainable basis.
HOW TO BENEFIT FROM CRISIS
We all know of crisis, whether financial setbacks, separations, or professional failures. Most of the time we try by all means to get out of this state as fast as possible. Inasmuch as we want the crisis to be over, there are always lessons learnt and knowledge gained. You may not realise how much you learnt from a crisis until you do the following:
1. REFLECTING ON THE CRISIS
You can only profit from a crisis if you know exactly what went wrong. It is helpful to reflect together with all persons involved and to take stock of what has been learned from it. What new patterns or innovations were triggered by the crisis?
Which new ways of working should be continued? Every time you face a challenge, it’s an opportunity for improvement. If you internalize this kind of thinking, you can use the energy and creativity that is born during one crisis to strengthen yourself against the next. This is where critical thinking is required.
2. APPRECIATE THE CHALLENGE
Every difficult time and challenge gives you the opportunity to grow beyond yourself. Without this experience, you wouldn’t go through a learning process and you would keep up having the same level of knowledge in the future. By beginning to use every crisis to reflect on yourself and determine who you might want to be instead, you can become more the person you really want to be. After all, the key to success lays always in relationships with yourself and your fellow human beings.
To strengthen up your relationships, for example, you can always ask others for help, learn from solutions others have already found, and be grateful for being given the opportunity to grow.
Regardless of the terrible effect of the pandemic, it gave us the opportunity to learn new things. Before now who knows about social distancing?
That aside, a lot of people became more serious with personal hygiene, organisations made new policies which will be highly beneficial to the growth of the company if they continue to operate on such policies over time.
Not minding the fact that I made the current pandemic a case study in this article, crisis exits in various forms. We have;
- Developmental crisis. This occurs as part of the process of growing and developing through various periods of life. Sometimes a crisis is a predictable part of the life cycle.
- The situational crisis is another form. They are sudden and unexpected, such as accidents and natural disasters. Getting in a car accident, experiencing a flood or earthquakes, etc. This is where the global pandemic falls.
- An existential crisis is inner conflicts related to things such as life purpose, direction, and spirituality.
A crisis can sometimes be quite obvious, such as a person losing his or her job, getting divorced, etc.
Irrespective of the type of crisis, the crisis remains crisis and there certainly is knowledge to be gained from the crisis. Lots of individuals, countries and organisations became better after a crisis. There is always something to be learnt in every crisis no matter the pain and losses that come with it.
According to Maxwell Maltz, ”crisis situations” are opportunities to either advance or stay where you are. For most people, crisis conditions made them better and stronger. Many people learnt patience, resilience and adaptation from the crisis. If as a person you have gained any knowledge from this pandemic, then I fear for you.
Don’t always hold on to the negatives in every crisis, seize the opportunity to discover the lessons. It is only an unwise person that fails to pick a lesson from a crisis. The lessons learnt, the knowledge gained can be useful in the future should similar events occur.
“Sometimes you need a little crisis to get your adrenaline flowing and help you realize your potential.”Jeannette Walls. Take advantage of every crisis to gain all the knowledge there is.