Focus on the P’s of Crisis Leadership

We need to be in recovery and reconstruction mode. We will most assuredly come out of this crisis different. It will be up to each of us if we want to make that difference better. It certainly can be better, even as painful as it has been to watch our friends and families suffer and businesses close, in some cases.

I firmly believe that the one-size-fits-all recovery mentality will not work. What I mean by that is what is right for Milwaukee isn’t necessarily right for Green Bay. What is right for Madison isn’t right for Eau Claire. Finding the balance in all of that is the challenging part. I respect the fact that we can’t just flip a switch and we will go back to whatever is normal.

One-size-fits-all also does not work when we look at our planning during this crisis. Josh Finley, a mentor of mine, shared his four leadership questions in a recent blog (www.joshuafinley. org). I came upon it through my leadership journey. If you go to his site, you will notice he is a faith-based leader. We are all leaders of one kind or another and it is how we react to the crisis, and not who we are, that matters.

His four P’s for planning are:

  1. That do we need to PRESERVE?
  2. What do we need to PRUNE?
  3. Where do we need to PIVOT?
  4. Where do we need to PIONEER?

I strongly believe that asking questions is the best way to get the answers we need and not just to rely on what fits our limited knowledge bank. Good leaders ask great questions. And then they LISTEN! We’ve become a society where sometimes our questions aren’t sincere and often times we can’t wait for the person to answer so we can talk again. Be a sincere active listener. If you are going to use the four P’s, then listen to what people, in general, or your co-workers are saying. So, what do you want to preserve? Hopefully you have your own core values that are keeping you focused on the right priorities in your life. If you own a business or work in one, are your mission, vision and values driving your decisions? “That’s the way we have always done things” is not a preservation strategy and will not help your business to survive.

While we do want to preserve, we also may need to prune. Even in calm seas, this is important. We all have 24 hours in a day and how we use that will determine what we need to prune. DigiCOPY has brought on new ideas to their offerings and, without adding new staff, they will have to make tough decisions on what to prune off the task list.

Personally, I just pruned about fifty e-newsletters from various businesses on my personal and professional accounts. If I only spend one minute on each, that is adding about an hour to my day. If I need the information I thought they provided, I can always find more than enough with an online search.

Having a long career in basketball, I fully understand what it means to pivot. Does your pivot mean elimination, nurturing or an overhaul? I recently heard a story about a photographer who is now doing “porchtraits”. What a great pivot and what will that mean for his business. Many of you have had to pivot at home with your new remote office. I need to pivot less to the refrigerator! I also had to pivot with an eight-year-old in the house as he is “home-schooled”. My daughter (the mother) had to pivot and created daily lesson plans that keeps him on target and out of my new work environment.

Finally, pioneer to move the “c” in “reactive” to become “c”reative. Getting out of your comfort zone and busting through the fear zone to pioneer an idea is always difficult but maybe more so in a crisis. However, if it fails you can always blame it on the crisis—well maybe that’s not a good idea. But why let something out of your control dictate what is in your control. Several businesses I know have now developed an online website for ordering, even though they weren’t technology people.

Countless restaurants are pioneering an intensive takeout ordering opportunity and DigiCOPY is right by their side offering signage. I’ve pioneered doing online webinars rather than in-person coaching, teaching and training and my message is focusing on how to lead in a crisis.

Finally, let me offer a resource as we recover and reconstruct. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers a number of business resources (besides personal) ( We will all be challenged mentally by how we respond to each other in the workplace and grocery store and park and the first large scale gathering. Challenges include the use of masks, taking people’s temperature, sanitizing spaces, and barriers for safety (which we have already seen). This site offers some help.

I know through all of this is that I need people, my own fifth “P”. Work at home is convenient but not what I want with my life. #saferathome has helped me grow my business in a different way but the lack of interaction (nothing wrong with my family, by the way) has been daunting. Let’s focus on recovery and reconstruction.

I guess I just need a hug! For that, one size does fit all!!!

Published by Todd Kuckkahn

I'm on a mission to revolutionize company culture and leadership.

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