Public Relations

How a crisis brings a team together

By Billy Partridge | Director

May 31, 2012 | 3 min read

One of the most complex elements of crisis management is teamwork .

It might seem easy to think of more complicated facets to a crisis, but if a genuine crisis has the capacity to do one thing, it is to expose your communal weaknesses in working together.

You see, the day-to-day working world frequently papers over cracks in processes, personality clashes, operational flaws, etc. - and teamwork is the glue that keeps everything going smoothly in spite of this. The whole should be greater than the sum of the parts.

But entering a crisis is like pressing the reset button: and you had better be prepared for it when it happens. Under the most extreme of circumstances, relying on teamwork is crucial, and a crisis tends to reveal where your team is strongest.

I'm currently in the Middle East working on an exercise designed to test those bonds. The results have been very positive: observers and participants alike have learned a huge amount about each other, their processes and their strengths. When a crisis hits, you want to go into it knowing for absolute certainty where your strengths lie, but also where your weaknesses are. It is a hearteningly positive experience.

Every time I am involved in either a genuine crisis, a test scenario or even an audit of an organisation's crisis management processes, the extent to which an organisation's team ethic will get it through a problem is the unknown quantity. But once complete, it can also become its saving grace, because no one organisation handles an incident in the same way. Learning what makes your team function is vital information to have at your disposal before an event strikes, and is a key component of preventative crisis management.

Learning about teamwork is transferrable, too: work out how to function effectively, how to marry teams together and how to get the job done effectively, and you will find that future day-to-day activity benefits, too.

Ask yourself this: do I really know how my team will perform under extreme pressure?

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