Mark launched, wide-eyed and breathing hard, into the HR and Finance office.
“Did you hear?” he puffed in a forceful whisper.
“Hear what?” replied the CFO, suddenly on her guard.
What followed was a horror story that threatened to damaged our company’s brand and ability to continue earning the vital trust of our clients. I looked past him at a General Manager’s closed door. I had seen our Sales and Production Managers walk into that room fifteen minutes ago.
I looked at the CFO. I think she had stopped breathing. Suddenly the colour rushed back into her face, as the adrenaline kicked in. She thanked Mark and started to stand up, when that ominous door across the hall opened. We heard … laughter. Whaaaaaat?
Mark quickly escaped, our office, attempting to look casual.
Out came the Sales and Production Managers. We waited …
Jim, our General Manager, emerged. He caught our wide eyes staring at him in the hallway. He smiled, walked into our office and suggested we call a staff meeting in 30 minutes.
“Is anything wrong?” our CFO asked.
“No, everything is handled. But from the look on your faces, I think I need to take care of the rumours.”
30 minutes later, I listened in awe as Jim relayed calmly and assuringly, a story that could have brought our company to a screaming halt. He had averted danger through a strategic meeting and two very firm phone calls to the right people. Done. There was no finger pointing (though there easily could have been), no flailing around in indecision, no recoiling in fear of making the wrong moves (though no one would have blamed him), no “yelling fire” and throwing the team into panic.
Jim kept calm, mobilized the right people in the right way, and then kept the entire team from blowing the already handled situation into a productivity stunting story, through open, transparent communication.
What ran through my head the entire time? “How can I be more like Jim?” 19 years later, I train managers and supervisors to use the best of the best quick and easy strategies to overcome chaos and keep their calm.
Maybe you’ve used theses strategies too? What keeps you calm in the middle of chaos?
Pick up a quick and easy technique or two. Share your war stories or a tip of your own this Thursday, February 26th at noon on a live, interactive webinar.
Register anyway. I will make sure you get the recording. http://www.anymeeting.com/PIID=EB55D88984473A
Until Thursday …