Living through the Covid-19 era at a professional sports team has put my strategic planning to the test. While I was prepared, I felt like I was only JUST ahead of the constant changes in processes and protocols. The key to managing situations like this is pivoting and either creating new action plans or putting existing plans quickly into action. But it's not just about crisis management, acting quickly in all aspects of preparation is important for success.
Putting in place best practice systems and processes is a key to not only enhancing the physical preparation of players. Having systems and processes well laid out really pays you back when things don’t go well.
Plan for worst case scenarios. It’s good practice to constantly ask “What’s the worst thing that can happen today and are we ready for it?”.
This includes, but is not limited to things like unpredictable medical emergencies, mental health and welfare situations and other crisis management scenarios. Action plans as well as communication plans should be well laid out to ensure that a team operates effectively and players get good care.
When things go wrong, I like to defer to three ways of managing the situation:
Act quickly - dig out communication plans and action plans and call in staff to immediately act on them.
Be honest - transparency of what's happening is very important. The real details in any situation always come out. So get them out and infront of the key stakeholders. Upset in a crisis happens when events are either withheld, miscommunicated, brushed over or even covered up.
Consider the personal side of the situation - whether it's an injury, a scandal, an accident or a crisis, it is important to go to those affected and make sure they have the information and support they need. Show the people who are affected how much you care about them and your commitment to helping them through the situation.
In short, run to the crisis or negative situation. Act quickly. Don’t hide from it. Be assertive by planning and communicating your way out of it.