“This situation has exposed a lot of gaps, from macro (societal and organizational) to micro (individuals and teams). We can use this crisis to find solutions and create stronger, more resilient people, teams, and organizations for the future. Now is the time to do this work.”
-John Davidoff, Founder and Chief Mission-Driver

During 9/11 and the 2008 banking crisis/recession, we observed our client organizations responding in one of two ways:

  1. Reactive thinking and acting
  2. Reflective thinking, planning, and acting

Those who responded with reactive thinking operated with an emotion-driven, short-term perspective that tended to seek to minimize damages and loss. Those who responded with reflective thinking assessed the situation from various perspectives and were looking at the long game.

In our experience, leaders demonstrating reflective thinking did the following:

  • They took the perspective that while they expected to take hits, they also regarded the crisis as a time of inquiry and examination for the organization.
  • They sought counsel from others throughout the process; all aspects of their organization, operationally and culturally, were fair game for feedback.
  • They went into the situation with the intent to emerge as a more effective and relevant organization.
  • They understood that we would not be returning to the familiarity of the past, and strategized to adapt to a new future.

The reflective leaders knew the inquiry would reveal areas of organizational gaps — or in our language, areas of Mission-Challenge. Yet because they intended to gain from their inquiry, they knew this would put them ahead in the long run and result in a more resilient organization. We observe that these organizations are better positioned to serve their missions, clients or customers, funders, partners, and other stakeholders and to weather future crises more effectively.

Understand Your Situation Before You Act

Consider the situation and the internal and external environments before you act. This is the time to broaden your brain trust (see our blog on questions to ask your brain trust), instead of turning inward and going it alone. We all benefit from having others’ perspectives to be sure we all clearly understand our situations before taking action. Bring your trusted advisors and subject-matter-experts together to think through questions such as: What is our role here? What is our best use informed by our mission?

We also advise you to use assessment tools to facilitate your analysis of the situation to which you are responding. In our Mission-Driven Strategic Planning suite, we offer three assessments, Mission-Driven/Mission-Challenged, Ideal State Action Planning, and SWOT. This will provide critical data and reveal the gaps you need to address organizationally.

Let us level set here: every organization (and every person) has gaps in where they are now and their ideal. It is disturbing to realize that your organization was not prepared for this – – financially, emotionally, culturally. Leaders acknowledge the truth of this so they can address their gaps and strategize on what’s needed (systems, planning, operations, addressing cultural or leadership issues). One common gap we see in many of our clients is that they have not (yet) articulated principles and values that will help guide your organization through this process.

To learn more about values and principles for your organization, or to discuss how this relates to your organization, reach out to Jacki Davidoff to set up a 20-minute conversation.