The best time to prevent or mitigate a crisis is, not surprisingly, before it occurs. Most crises are smouldering, which means that they develop slowly but become apparent suddenly, just like a slow-burning fire that erupts into a conflagration seemingly out of nowhere. Here are principles to guide in leadership before a crisis occurs:

  1. Mobilize your team by anticipating and identifying potential crises before they strike.
  2. Implement rational risk management measures.
  3. Establish priorities for prevention and preparation on an ongoing basis.
  4. Create robust contingency plans to deal with the most likely and most dangerous situations you can envisage.
  5. Implement sound policies and procedures for the most likely crisis situations and events.
  6. Prepare yourself, your team, and your team through diligent practice and training.
  7. Employ trusted advisors and associates and ensure they are well qualified and working as a team.
  8. Build as flexible and resilient an organization as possible within the constraints of time and resources.
  9. Work on becoming more self-aware as a leader and seek to acquire the competencies to lead in a crisis.

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2014 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

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