Good morning, I’m from Ukraine.
When the crisis hits, it’s always a shock. I remember waking up to the news of the full-scale war in Ukraine and siren (air threat alarm). My natural reaction was to act. So I started packing, contacting everyone, securing the safety of my daughter...
When the crisis hits (perhaps not a war but some unusual business challenge), your team will feel the same shock. The bad thing is that they will stand still when it comes to their responsibilities at work. And while you may continuously repeat about opportunities, necessity to increase efficiency, optimizations, etc, everything is useless until they overcome the first shock.
What can you do as a first step? - Keep the team. The only and most important thing in a time of crisis is to unite and support your team. And they will figure it out themselves later.
So the goal is to help them recover from shock as soon as possible. How? - Show them your support, keep them united, set an ambitious goal, and repeat that we as a team will survive and everything will be all right. Otherwise, you’ll have to do it all alone.
On the first day of the war, I spent hours relocating my team members to safer regions (supporting them throughout the process). The second day we had tons of calls to remind them that we’re the team, we support each other, we care about each other. On the fifth day, we set an ambitious goal to continue the delivery of the software and release as planned.
From now on, you may select to follow one of 3 strategies:
Do nothing and watch. It is really hard to make decisions in times of total uncertainty. So your natural instinct would be not to act, collect some data and act upon it. But that might be already too late since the market would have changed tremendously by that time. So in my opinion that is the worst scenario under crisis.
Act the usual way. Run your operations the way you have always been doing hoping that crisis won’t affect you or your business. The thing is that it will - it is a matter of time. Be it one month or one week, it will impact the operations. When the sky is clear again, you might not have enough resources to adapt or your competitors will force you out of the market.
Respond to change. Ask yourself every day - how the market has changed? What is the heartbeat of my business/project? What data do I have right now to rely upon? If you have already invested in understanding the data behind your operations, found out the bottlenecks, and know-how to resolve them, you’re in a winning position (btw MyDone offering is exactly about recording your operations to understand the data behind them). But if not, what you could do is to frequently iterate - test what works in current circumstances and what doesn’t. Fail as quickly as possible and start all over. However, make sure you do not introduce chaos into current workflows.
“The secret of crisis management is not good vs. bad, it’s preventing the bad from getting worse.”
— Andy Gilman, president & CEO of Comm Core Consulting Group
From a practical point of view, responding to change and uniting your team could mean the following:
Ambitious goals. Teams unite around common goals. Inform the team how they contribute to supporting current business operations, how they help overcome the crisis, keep them involved. Then they will help your business adapt and adjust as necessary.
Talk to clients more. The market needs to change. These changes are fast. The more you talk to clients the more you can properly address their needs and concerns. Our communication has doubled or even tripled in the past 2 weeks of the crisis.
More frequent and granular planning. Because of the rapid change, you and your team have to adapt more often. This is what true agility means. Do not plan for a year or even months. Even 1-day planning could work. Keep the team focused on what matters most today. You’ll be back to quarterly plannings soon but today is the most you can process.
Act as one with other market players. Collaboration even with your competitors will help keep the market. Currently, IT companies all over Ukraine help their people in safety and continue their operations to the full extent to keep the business in Ukraine and support the future.
Cut the costs. Do you know who’s the hungriest? Is it the rent you have to pay? Could you negotiate the discount if you buy in bulk? If possible rely on the data you have already collected or act to the best of your knowledge.
None of the crises lasted forever. And every challenge is also an opportunity.