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3 Secrets to Leading in Crisis


Google something, you get your results back.
But when Gmail or Google stops working, everyone notices.
Your system stops working.
Your company stops working.

A plan needs to be in place for when things stop working.
You need a technical leader who can make it work again.

Successful leaders during crisis have some secrets:

1. Look to the Left and Right of the Problem

Often times your team, in crisis, will jump into problem-solution mode.
The system has a performance issue, they will analyse logs to find the cause.

Take a step back.
Why has this issue come up now?

Yesterday the system was fine.
Today it’s not.
What changed?

Look to the left, look back, how did this issue begin?
What changed?

A new patch.
A new upgrade.
A new component.
An increase in user load.

These are likely suspects that need to be investigated.

You then need to be able to look to the right.
You need to be able to tell the future.

2. Time Traveling and Predicting the Future

You need to be like a magician, like an oracle.
Predicting the future.

Actions are agreed, logs are to be analysed.
You know who will do it.
You know how they will do it.

But when will you get the result?
When will they get back to you?
When can you make your next decision?

Whenever someone else decides for you?

Agree on the next checkpoint.
The next phone call.
The next time you meet.
The point in time you will reconvene to discuss findings and next steps.
Then make your next decision, based on that information.

“….by 3pm we will know if users can continue to work today or will have to wait until tomorrow…”

3. Unraveling the Daisy Chains

Many people end up waiting for the guy…who is waiting a the guy, waiting for another guy.
Why have someone report back the work of other people?
The message gets distorted.
Sometimes twisted.
Often times lost in translation.

Find the communication daisy chains, then jump over them.

Get the contact details of the person who is actually doing the work.
Then speak to them.
Cut out the middle man.
Exchange contact information so they come back to you directly next time.
Build a new bridge.

It establishes a clear picture of what is actually going on.
It establishes your control.
Only with the right information, can you make the right decision.


Stephen M Dick

Customer Support leader, team builder, process designer.

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      Author's profile photo Naren Karra
      Naren Karra

      It's nice Stephen.

      " Only with the right information, can you make the right decision." - > Well said.

      Next time I'll try solving an issue without the help of google / scn . 🙂


      Naren Krishna.