11 Dealing with the off-the-cuff stuff Building skills to handle immediate crises

You may have heard that people show their true colours when they are under pressure. In psychology–speak, we say that the default response, the most well-worn brain pattern, is the one that shows up when the proverbial stuff hits the fan. The question is: how effective is your default response inside the pressure cooker of sudden, unexpected tough stuff in your workplace? Do you manage this off-the-cuff stuff well and produce positive outcomes during a crisis? Or is that the very moment that things tend to fall apart?

A crisis presents as a particular type of tough stuff, most often characterised by unexpectedness, uncertainty, a threat to important goals or a change to demands.

We believe there are three key areas to address in effectively dealing with a crisis. They are:

  • how you turn up to a crisis situation
  • how you deal with the aftermath
  • how you prepare for future crisis events.

In this chapter we will unpack these points and discuss how you can apply them to the off-the-cuff stuff in your workplace.

Turning up to a crisis situation

Successfully dealing with tough stuff that occurs in the moment rarely requires just a reactive response. Most, if not all, leaders who handle the off-the-cuff stuff well share a common characteristic: they proactively arm themselves with the right way of ...

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