Think Customer – Outputs from our event on Crisis Management

Further to our blog earlier this month, we wanted to share the outputs of our second discussion point from our recently held #THINKCUSTOMER event.

Our virtual event gave key leaders from Nelsons, Mars, Nando’s, and Mizkan the opportunity to discuss two topic areas. One topic delved into the challenges of line managers who need to get the right balance between managing people and delivering their day job. The outputs of this discussion can be seen HERE

The other topic reviewed crisis management and how we manage and how we react within organisations. With so many challenges in modern day business, for example HGV driver shortages, supply issues etc., when does a crisis become part of everyday operation and how should you best navigate it?

The word ‘crisis’ has been used frequently over the last 12 months to describe a range of events, and typically this is used to describe something other than ‘what was expected’. Have the last 12 months reduced confidence around businesses to cope with the unexpected?

Some key themes emerged from the discussion:

  • Fear of Failure is on the increase – however whether this is centred from the individual or the business is not clear.
  • Crisis is very rarely a crisis – it becomes panic. We question whether the current working conditions have made teams less resilient, OR that the lack of ‘social’ engagement (for example – the coffee chat/the water cooler moment) means that small challenges and issues can escalate quickly, as they fester rather than be socialised and eased
  • There is a need to virtually or physically put ‘an arm round people’ and provide some comfort and support. Some clients have used the ‘side chat’ on virtual platforms to do this.  But ‘crisis’ of the day managed in ’30-minute Teams slot’ may not suffice and not provide the time, comfort. support and space our colleagues need to discuss it.
  • Language is a key factor – we must be better at describing the ‘unanticipated’, rather than descending into crisis mode. There is and should be a clear distinction between something that wasn’t expected, or one that really is a life-or-death situation.
  • We need to be better at looking at the opportunity in a crisis – to a reasonable extent we are ‘relieved’ when we resolve the latest crisis, rather than looking for the growth levers within it. In times of challenge, there is often opportunity. For example, some FMCG manufacturers have their own HGV fleet, in a time when retailers are struggling to distribute goods, offering such resource could be extremely beneficial.
So overall, we need to be conscious and mindful of how our colleagues deal with ‘crisis’. Ensure we communicate in the right way and via the right mechanisms. Be mindful of the language and description we use for the ‘unexpected’. With better labelling and communication we will reduce undue stress or heightened anxiety.  The crisis only becomes a crisis when we name it that way!

If you would want to improve how to deal with ‘challenges’ more effectively both operationally, but also through mindset contact us at
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