When You Should Have a Crisis
Look around Atlanta, the highways are exploding and the bridges are falling. It seems like a weird fable but isn’t. Observing from the outside, you may think “The DOT has a crisis” or “The city government has a crisis.” When I first heard about the bridge collapse, I thought differently.
Often times, we think about crisis as it relates to the primary entity it affects. However, a crisis creates many ripples that extends far beyond the initial person or group affected.
Do you know who should’ve entered crisis mode, along with Georgia DOT and Atlanta government, when the bridge collapsed?
I’m guessing that simple question prompted you to think immediately of construction companies. They were definitely affected and some companies out there were well prepared. In fact, with the bridge set to open a full month before schedule, I’m sure one company did an extremely good job of capitalizing on the problem. First, they got the contract. Second, I’m sure they put an escalator for increasing their profits for finishing as quickly as they did. That was no mistake.
But who else should’ve entered crisis mode?
Let me first admit that I’m not in their boardroom nor do I know what ability they had to respond quickly given their logistical needs, but I will say I didn’t see them respond the way I would’ve expected and, with the bridge opening a month sooner, they may have missed their golden opportunity.
MARTA has struggled to gain consistent footing for years. Having grown up in the Mid-Atlantic area, I’m familiar with public transportation that everybody uses. The businessman to the hourly worker travel, talk, read and ride together. In a dispersed south that just isn’t the case. So when the bridge collapsed, MARTA was presented with an amazing opportunity where potential future riders were forced to use their services. In that window, MARTA had the opportunity to change how potential riders perceive their services.
While MARTA did make some adjustments and changes, they didn’t seem to initiate a large push to secondary and tertiary demographics. Similarly, you may be doing the same with your company. There are limited opportunities where a crisis arises that works in your favor. That crisis presents an opportunity that should activate your crisis management plan. You need to have a plan for crisis, whether good or bad. Then, you must be able and willing to execute when the time arises. Look for crisis around you, it may be the opportunity that changes the perception of your company forever.
When’s the last time you considered turning a crisis into growth?