The ‘invisible enemy’ that organizations can’t afford to ignore

What’s the biggest danger to organizations in the midst of the current pandemic?

Some say it’s the loss of consumer confidence as the coronavirus forces us to rethink what purchases are actually needed…and which are optional.

Some say it’s the inability to effectively communicate with customers in a way that keeps their trust in your brand at an all-time high during these times.

Others say it’s the failure to adapt and make the operational or messaging shifts needed at a time where they couldn’t be more important.

And the thing is – they’re not wrong. Not exactly.

But what most people miss is something much bigger. Something that lies at the root of all these issues. Because what could single-handedly cripple your organization is actually a very common (and dangerous) psychological phenomenon.

And it’s one that becomes even nastier during times of crisis, such as now.

It may be present in your organization right this moment – silently sabotaging both your morale and momentum behind the scenes. And when left unchecked, it will stop you from making the decisions you need to until after it’s too late. 

As a result, you’ll be left scrambling to keep your head above water as the window of opportunity that was once open has now been slammed shut. To understand what this is, think of the following example from Chip’s career as an FBI hostage negotiator:

A criminal walks into a bank. He’s armed. He’s dangerous. And at the top of his lungs, he commands everyone to “GET DOWN RIGHT NOW!”.

What’s the first thing that happens to most people? Their senses get hijacked and they freeze up.

And in this situation, the LAST thing they do is make an independent decision. Instead, they either do what they’ve been told…or follow along with what everyone else does. But as it turns out, the bank and the boardroom are not that uncommon.

That’s because in any crisis or problem scenario, the most common response is one of fear. 

And what does that lead to? The decision to wait. To hesitate. Or even do nothing at all.  That’s right – as an organization in the middle of a crisis your #1 biggest threat is inertia.

In other words, refusing to move or act until it’s too late. What does this sound like in everyday language?

  • “We should just watch what other companies in our industry are doing.”
  • “We need to wait and see if this is the right move.”
  • “We can’t afford to get this wrong.”

On the surface these sound perfectly rational. 

But the problem is that during any crisis the LAST thing you can afford to do is wait.

By definition, a crisis is something that FORCES us into action. And no action at all (or a severely delayed one) is often the worst action you can take.

While we wait for the right time or right opportunity, the situation we’re in changes rapidly. And failing to act in time (often by taking a “Wait and See” Approach) can have disastrous results.

What can we do to avoid this?

1) First of all, we need to get over our own ‘internal inertia’. 

We need to fix OURSELVES before attempting to fix the situation

To do this you’ll want to check out our article on The #1 Still To Have In Times Of Panic. You’ll discover how to avoid an “amygdala hijack” so that you can act with a clear mind.

2) Next, you’ll need to overcome everyone else’s inertia. 

Sociological Expert Dr. Josh Packard warns that this inertia is most dangerous at the institutional level. The more people that refuse to act, the worse the overall effect is.

But convincing everyone to move when they’d much rather stay in place is easier said than done. To accomplish this, you’ll first need to address the fear that everyone else may be experiencing. This article on How To Rekindle Your Leadership After A Crisis shows you how.

It’s often these hidden, unaddressed fears that keep everyone from fully aligning behind your idea, proposal or recommendations. And that only leads to a messy or delayed implementation that can do more harm than good.

But take the time to speak to the emotions people are experiencing and you’ll see renewed trust and morale among your team or organization, which is crucial for getting people to act.

Then, once this is done you’ll want to change the RITUALS that your organization uses. 

How can you do this? We’ll share the answer in our next post

It’ll go over why rituals are much more important than most people think…and how you can make the ‘micro-shifts’ needed to help everyone get behind your idea or proposal.

Talk Soon,

Adele