In the last few weeks, I’ve helped 4 clients across various industries navigate extreme organizational chaos.
3 of the situations involved successfully mitigating the risks associated with terminating a key player that had turned toxic.
Once we moved these toxic employees out of the organization, a noticeable wave of calm, and a collective sigh of relief, cascaded through the company.
We often lose sight of the emotional and mental toll that toxic people and situations take on us.
One of my favorite parables is that of the “boiling frog.” If you put a frog in a pot of boiling water, he will instinctively jump out to save his own life. However, if you put a frog in a pot of room-temperature water, and then slowly turn up the heat, he is unaware he is being boiled alive. He will stay in the water until he explodes.
People often find themselves in similar situations. Circumstances rarely instantaneously implode. We arrive at a crisis point step-by-step. The heat continues to rise, so to speak, until we are facing implosion. Once the implosion occurs and the dust settles, we are left with a new reality.
How do we make the most of this new environment?
These are the guidelines I provided one of my clients as he worked to become comfortable running a non-chaotic organization.
- Take a step back. First, take a step back to breathe, and assess the organization from a distance. It’s very hard to see the picture when you are in the frame. Remove yourself from the middle of the situation, so that you can take a 50,000 foot view of your organization.
- Drop the firefighter mentality. Right now at this moment, you don’t have to be in firefighting mode. By dropping this thought process, you will be able to shift your mindset from a reactive place to a proactive place.
- Move back into strategic thinking. The firefighting mode shouldn’t be your norm. Dust off your strategic plan and assess where you are, from this point forward regarding your growth goals.
- Engage in a lessons learned exercise. Whenever my clients and I navigate a crisis, we revisit the circumstance after we’ve let the emotions die down so that we can learn from the experience. How did my client get there? What could he/she have done differently to avoid it? How did he/she navigate through it? How could he/she have done better?
- Be as productive as possible; the calm is always temporary. Leaders don’t have the luxury of licking their wounds for long, or of slipping into complacency. “Make hay while the sun shines” is an old proverb that means we must take the opportunity to do something while conditions are perfect.
There is going to be more drama. It just comes with the territories of building businesses, leading people, and managing change.
Adapting a mindset that both chaos and calm are temporary allows us to move through each phase with as much personal and organizational control as possible.
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We work with business owners, CEOs, and leadership teams that want to achieve their greatest personal & organizational potential. Through coaching, strategic consulting, retreat facilitation, and workshops, we equip leaders & emerging leaders with the mindset, tools, strategies, and processes they need to excel.
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Wishing you joy and success on your journey!
CEO, Successful Culture
“Taking Leaders from Triage to Transformation.”