First things first, in an emergency you act to preserve life.
You don’t apportion blame, spend time asking how the situation came about or start to reflect on what you could do differently to avoid the situation in future. That comes later.
We practise for emergencies and crises, so that in the moment we can step into appropriate, effective action.
Dealing with the announcement of a significant change demands both an immediate response and a pre-considered plan. As a senior leader, be mindful that the lives of your people going through that change, will be significantly affected. A swift, human response from the business’ perspective is crucial. As is on-going support that you have planned for and put in place.
Ensure your people feel as safe as possible, as quickly as possible.
Ensure their basic needs are being met.
Pay close attention so you understand where they are on the change curve, and meet them where they are, rather than where you might want them to be.
Allow them to share their feelings and listen.
It is easy to underestimate the trauma of change and transition.
As a senior leader, you will have been mulling over the options, involved in strategic conversations, been part of the decision-making process.
For your team, the impact will probably be shocking and immediate. They may have had no prior warning. And, as in the case of a life-threatening emergency, acting decisively and quickly is crucial.
Remember to help deal with the human, emotional and psychological first. Urgently. You cannot look ahead, plan and design, if your team doesn’t survive the initial impact.
Act now to support your team through change.