Crisis management.

It has been 3 years since I was honoured to be appointed as the CEO. Truly challenging years. 2,5 years operating in the time of pandemic and the remaining half of the last year in the war time in Ukraine. In such circumstances, no one knows what tomorrow will bring and hardly any estimation works. Permanent crisis management, I tell you.

Everything is changing. The market is changing. Our customers` needs and wants change, too. Supply chain has become the most crucial, difficult and the most unpredictable point of the whole sales process. Yes, exactly – the sales process – as there is a demand but no way to meet it as a result of the crisis (availability and pricing) in raw materials` and logistics` areas. Labour market is changing. On the one hand, almost in one week many male employees left their jobs to fight for freedom and on the other one – very soon after, almost 4 million additional people, including female employees, arrived at my country. And there are also marketing activities which are changing vastly as most of it has become digital. Guess what? Offline is in no way similar to online.

And last but not least, there is inflation killing almost every profit earned.

Can it be more difficult?

You realize that all the methods of effective crisis management you have learnt are important and maybe even useful from the operational point of view, but they all refer to the situations that were experienced. Therefore, some lessons could have been learnt and conclusions drown. This means that you can most often predict them and mitigate the feasible risks. This is manageable. This is doable.

However, it is all very different now. Especially COVID-19 pandemic has made a huge difference. There is no guidebook you can follow. There is nobody you can ask for advice, as all of us are swimming in the same blue ocean for the very first time.

So, what can you do?

Judging from my 3 years` experience, the only reasonable things you can do in such a situation is to trust your own inner instinct following your heart and listen to your Team.

The first one is about trust in yourself. It is what brought you to the place you are in. So, you have already taken a few good decisions. It means that your intuition can`t be too bad … . It also means that you have to be smart enough and brave enough to step out of your comfort zone into new, unfamiliar but most frequently developing situations. This would be “just” another one. I know … not that easy anyway.

The second one is about your trust in people. It can be more difficult for you to do so as other people’s actions might be unpredictable and obviously don’t depend on you. But … it is important to remember that each big crisis consists of many small crises, happening in many different business areas/spaces. You don`t have to be as expert in all of them. That is simply impossible. Accept the fact that you are not and never will be. Sorry, guys. You’d better face the truth. So, what you can do is to trust your Team and let them manage some small crises on the way. They are experts in their fields therefore, will know what to do. Even if it cannot be based on previous evidence … they have their own intuition, too.

To sum up, if a bewildering crisis comes, believing in your own intuition and trusting employees are the only feasible and efficient way of “crisis management” at the end of the day. Despite the fact that this seems to be the most obvious way to go in times of uncertainty and the unknown, it is far easier said than done. I know it very well!

Happily, every crisis has its ending at some point. As in life, ups and downs.

Afterwards a crisis most often brings change. Try to think about this CHANGE from the same beginning of the crisis and focus on making the best of it for your business, your Team and yourself as well. We got another topic: “Change management” – is yet a different story … .

One more thing. No matter what, strive to stay positive in a negative, meaning critical situation. It is usually immensely challenging but this is what, in my opinion, leadership is all about.

August, 2022

“Life is fragile.
We’re not guaranteed a tomorrow
so give it everything you’ve got today.”

Tim Cook,

CEO of Apple