25 Jan Responding to External Crisis: Managing through Disruption
It’s 11:00 am in your Manhattan headquarters, and you hear a colleague shout, “There‘s been an explosion in Chicago! Turn on CNN!”
The office erupts into a cacophony of questions, conjectures, and shared scraps of information as staff members begin searching the web for details.
You immediately dial your counterpart in the Chicago office, but just get “All lines are busy.” You try her cell, but there’s no answer. Moments later, as you’re leaving a voicemail, an “All Staff” email comes around from your office head:
“At 9:45 Central Time, there was a large explosion at Chicago O’Hare Airport. Our Chicago office is not in the vicinity of the explosion. The airport has been closed. At this time, no further information has been released. Please make every attempt to return to business as usual. We will keep you updated on any further developments.”
You can hear the commotion outside your office continue as people call out breaking, often conflicting news:
“At least 28 people are injured!”
“Wait, this says more than 30!”
You hear one employee sobbing, and another cursing quietly.
Business as usual? Is that even possible?
And what can you do to support your staff in regaining their equilibrium?