Crisis Management To Keep Business Moving

crisis management restaurant staff team meeting talent
  • Enterprise Greece
  • Red Gold
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  • Day & Nite
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Article contributed by Mike Berman, COO, Day & Nite/All Service, with Tia Tassava

As a society, coronavirus has brought new meaning and a deeper appreciation for “we are all in this together.”  The hospitality industry has been particularly devastated by COVID-19’s toll. Deeply rooted in hospitality, passionately committed to being in it together, now and into the future, this column was established to offer ideas from lessons applied and learned managing through the coronavirus crisis.

Day & Nite/All Service/Popular Plumbing, self-performs commercial HVAC, cooking, refrigeration, and plumbing installation, maintenance, and repair services through the international footprint of Massachusetts to Miami. Recognizing that a high percentage of our customers are global businesses, we began coronavirus scenario planning exercises mid-late December, pulled together a cross-functional Coronavirus Action Team mid-January, and initiated our first COVID-19 protocols by January 31st. Since that time, we have provided weekly guidance and updates to staff and clients, making sure to keep critical lines of incoming communication wide open. Although there may be accepted rules for crisis management, every situation is different, requiring great organizational flexibility. More critically, crises affect people and placing a premium on the human element; interpersonal is essential.

With the benefit of what we have done well, and areas we can improve, I share these crisis management tips with our brethren in the hospitality industry:

1. Scenario planning and proactive management is a required discipline

Nobody can wholly prepare for the unexpected, but we can all anticipate and plan ahead with options. Once a quarter, senior management should reserve at least one half-day session to plan several high-risk situations, coming up with a range of managerial options. Preferably, these scenarios are realistic, but even if you choose to go to science fiction extremes, the team exercise will help develop the necessary managerial muscle to anticipate effectively.

2. Calm, confident, humility imperative

Particularly in troubled times, your organization looks to you as a leader. Staff will respect and rally around your leadership if you stay in control, yet they will rapidly and permanently lose faith in anyone pretending to be an omniscient wizard. Balancing these forces can spell all the difference in the world.

  • Inline Plastics
  • Imperial Dade
  • Red Gold
  • DAVO Sales Tax
  • RATIONAL USA
  • RAK Porcelain
  • Enterprise Greece
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • Day & Nite

3. Credibility is the most vital crisis management asset

Avoid the temptation to overstate, romanticize, or anything that may erode individual or corporate credibility. Building and sustaining credibility is a long journey yet is easily permanently destroyed in an instant. In a crisis, credibility must be an ever-appreciating asset.

4. Organized division of labor

Create and empower work teams responsible for specific facets of the business, giving full authority for crisis jurisdiction with tight oversight and reporting disciplines. Designing organized work teams is essential to avoid redundancy that often heightens a crisis, yet they must be designed in a way to institutionalize coordination so that the organizational left hand truly knows what the right hand is doing, and all are in sync.  Day & Nite organized high-impact teams around professional expertise, current functions, and desired outcomes.  All client-facing professionals formed a team for regular communicating with individual accounts and markets.  Cross-functional finance and service teams were to support infrastructure and service execution. Our senior staff entirely focused on internal and external health, welfare, and safety.

5. One sharp eye on the ground, a keener eye in the air

No matter how extreme, no matter how long it lasts, every crisis is temporary. Just like ongoing scenario planning is necessary for normal business conditions, it’s even more vital amid a crisis. Businesses that bunker down strictly to manage a crisis are, at best, the last to recover when normalcy returns. Sadly, those fully consumed by in-the-moment crisis management never return. While models and projections are somewhat fluid, any business not now developing its post-pandemic plans will regret it.

History further shows us that every crisis leads to permanent changes where the once unthinkable becomes the accepted norm. If, for instance, security instructed you to remove your shoes before entering an airport 20 years ago, you likely would have been deeply offended by this invasion of privacy. Today, any airport lacking considerable security measures is scary to imagine.

I’d love to hear how you are managing these times and even more anxious to further share ideas and methods with you! We’re all in this together.

  • RAK Porcelain
  • Inline Plastics
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • RATIONAL USA
  • Enterprise Greece
  • Imperial Dade
  • DAVO Sales Tax
  • Red Gold
  • Day & Nite

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