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How do you keep your spirits up in a crisis?

Crisis – understanding it allows you to cope with it and avoid irretrievable losses. How can we remain optimistic when a crisis hits us hard?

Crisis – identifying a phenomenon

Let’s get out of our private lives. We all experience at some point a period of crisis caused by as many factors as there are human beings on this planet: a momentary difficulty, the loss of a loved one, a birthday that we celebrate backwards, the body or mind that calls us to order and drags us into illness, the questioning of an existence that we thought was solidly anchored and stable; the health crisis we are experiencing is a burning example of current events. The word “crisis” comes from the Greek “krisis” meaning “decision, judgment”. The world is the scene of economic crises born of geopolitical tensions or a breaking point reached (overconfidence, deep socio-economic imbalances, bursting of financial bubbles). The triggers are varied. Some countries are in recession, others will enter recession, creating a climate of uncertainty and insecurity. What will tomorrow bring if a nation’s health status continues to deteriorate and, by extension, its economic state? A country in crisis, like a person going through a difficult period, sounds the alarm. There are two alternatives: to turn a deaf ear and not learn the lessons – with the risk of amplifying the problem temporarily delayed to the point of making it unmanageable once the grenade has been released – or to become aware of this alert, circumscribe it and apply the necessary measures to curb it. Knowing that every crisis has a beginning but also an end, it invites us to question ourselves, to overcome our fears, to surpass ourselves. More than ever, when the situation reaches a critical point due to a brutal external or internal change, it is vital to give priority to long-term thinking and action whenever possible. The movement must go from the inside out. It is from the cursor, the angle of approach that it becomes imperative to change. This is achieved, when the gravity of the present moment requires it, through the disciplined application of the instructions given by our authorities.

Risks also mean opportunities – the crisis as a springboard

In such a context, the business world is also, as we can see through the ordeal that the West is undergoing, violently put to the test. Sudden and abrupt stops, budget cuts, restructuring, economic lay-offs… Fear is the immediate defence reflex. “It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future…” (Mark Twain). The watchword is usually to cut costs before deciding, once the crisis is over, what strategy to adopt. Let’s analyse the situation and the challenges objectively and realistically, and then consider how to overcome the crisis. Reflection must accompany the choice of my strategy. No more calm seas, the storm warning is announced. So what is the course of action when the ground collapses beneath my feet? To do today what I would normally put off until tomorrow: step back, look at what makes the innovative strength of my company. It’s now or never that I rethink the organization so that I can start again, on a consolidated basis, once this situation of intense stress is over. Let’s not hide the fact that this is an upheaval that is anything but pleasant: doubt and uncertainty have always been a source of anxiety. But, beyond the necessary questioning, we must see it as a perhaps salutary opportunity to reinvent ourselves.

The misfortune of some can also be the misfortune of others – this has never been truer than in this period of crisis.

Now it is a matter of studying all possible scenarios. This will be the result of close cooperation between the Board of Directors and the company’s senior management. Next, it is important to assess the degree of probability of each scenario and the contingency measures to be applied consistently in the event that it materializes. The following questions raise a number of professional and private questions:

– What values are important to you?

– If you had to keep only the essentials at the private and professional level, what would they be?

– How do you convey them in your products or services?

– Have you deviated from your original goals?

– Do you now need to reorient these objectives? If so, why?

– Is this crisis primarily internal or external?

– Do you feel a loss of control?

– If so, can you identify the breaches that are upsetting the balance of your building?

– What could you have done differently?

– What will you do differently after the crisis?

– How can you regain control of what you have undertaken?

– What lessons can you learn from this crisis relapse?

– What are the risks and the impact in case of losses of different key elements (capital, customers, suppliers, employees)?

– What are you looking forward to once this period of crisis is over?

Let’s mobilize our energy, all our energies, each one at his own level, in these turbulent times, to overcome the coronavirus crisis that is hitting us. The Tradeo Team, in solidarity and grateful to the medical staffs who save lives every day.