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Crisis Managment and Flying the Plane

September 10th, 2014

How_Planes_FlyWe’ve all been there… things go horribly wrong and people start losing their heads. I like to think one of the things I’m good at is crisis management. As things go more and more out of control, I seem to have the ability to get calmer and calmer (and I’ve learned that has a tendency to drive those around me even more nuts!).

That’s why I found this article on the number 1 rule in crisis management so insightful. It talks about the investigation of the crash of Air France 447 and how it came down to the pilots panicking and not doing the one basic thing… keeping the plane under control. Apparently, the emergency checklist for a Cessna has 6 steps. Step one is “Fly the plane”.

It is very easy to go into a crisis spiral and forget to the do most basic things to keep the situation under control. I’ve actually taken this to heart. Recently when I was in a ‘crisis’ situation (and by crisis, I mean something was going wrong with our internal systems that nobody outside of our company would ever care about), I kept repeating the same phrase… “Are we still flying the plane?” It took a little while before others understood what I meant and we were able to make sure the basics were being taken care of while the malfunctions were being addressed.

Next time you find things spiraling out of control, just remember that Job #1 is:

  1. Fly the plane
Categories: Strategy
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