A crisis always seems to happen when you have lots of things to do and very little time to spare. Machinery breaks, employees get sick, transportation bogs down, weather takes a turn for the worst — all outline the very definition of crisis — “an intensely difficult period of time.”
When you must drop everything to solve an immediate crisis, having a management plan gives you a place to start and the steps to move forward. Instead of crisis management, think of it as your “no-time” plan — you need to act immediately! Such a plan is often built around three main principles: Understand the situation, assess the problem, and search for the solution.
Taking the time to truly understand the situation or crisis may seem like important time lost, but taking the time to see the larger picture is essential. Those who live on farms have heard the sad stories of people trying to rescue someone from a dangerous situation only to be caught in the same predicament. When you begin to understand the full extent of the situation, you can then assess how to work through the immediate difficulty and reestablish stability and safety. And, as you work through these two processes, you will already be formulating the solution.
The plan itself can be as simple as a flow chart you prepare along with your other business strategies. You begin by asking questions — if field equipment breaks down during harvest, where can you get replacements? If you need alternative storage space, where would it be? If your help is in short supply who would you call?
From those questions important and unique to your business, you start putting a plan together with solutions already built in. You outline scenarios and build outcomes by creating operational channels. Who can assist you? What can they provide? How long will it take? And, are there alternatives to each?
Make lists of the people and resources you may need to contact or obtain during a crisis situation and link these lists to your overall plan. This information in one place and at your fingertips acts as a guide to lead you through the first steps in solving problematic situations. It takes time to brain storm and pre-plan for situations, but being prepared in advance saves valuable time in the long run. When you have a “no-time” plan, you are already several steps ahead and have created the ability to take action immediately.
Your business is important to you — your family, your partners, employees and those you serve. As with all risk management, you need to be prepared to act with knowledge, skill and understanding in stressful and difficult situations. Take some time to create a “no-time” plan to build a secure business environment which will benefit you now and in the future.
The above information is provided for educational purposes and should not be substituted for professional business and legal counseling.