questions to learn from crisis

How to Capture What You’re Learning From This Crisis Now

In this time of extraordinary uncertainty and change your team has learned to quickly adapt to do the best they can, with what they have, from where they are. The COVID-19 crisis has us all quickly adapting to new ways to serve our customers.

You’ve seen what can be done, despite constraints, as your team works to find creative, even Herculean solutions to serve your customers while keeping everyone safe.

And of course, there may be some brilliant workarounds and short-cuts happening you DON’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT—that COULD turn into a LONG-TERM best practice.

Right before this crisis, we conducted extensive research with the University of North Colorado which found that employees have ideas but frequently don’t speak up to share them.

67% of employees think that their manager operates under the notion, “This is the way we’ve always done it” and 40% say they don’t feel confident to share their ideas.

But at this moment, all over the world, we are seeing brilliant micro-innovations, where people are pulling together and asking “How can we?”

How can we use scuba equipment as a ventilator? How can we still feed our school children? What if we could turn our curtains into face masks? How can get that important training done when everyone is working remotely?

Once we get through this immediate crisis to establish a new normal, how will you leverage this spirit of micro-innovation, problem-solving, and customer advocacy on your team?

Don’t risk returning to “business as usual” and waste money and miss opportunities to make your organization better. When the time is right, you’ll want to engage your team in capturing all the lessons learned and co-creating your desired future.

Even if you don’t have time to discuss this right now, encourage your team to jot down anything that comes to mind about what they’re learning.

Important Questions to Ask as You Learn from this Crisis

  • What are we learning about what matters most for our customers?
  • Which communication methods are working best?
  • What do employees need most from your leadership?
  • What non-essential work have we stopped doing that could potentially stay stopped?
  • Which meetings are most essential? Which as it turns out, are not?
  • What are we learning about remote working, meetings, and training?

We all long to return to normal as fast as we can. What if we can do better than normal?

Ask your team to capture their best ideas for building a better, bolder future together.

Your Turn

What would you add? What questions would you ask to help them capture important lessons from the current crisis?

Give your team something to look forward to. Register for our FREE (live online) I.D.E.A. Inspiration Summit to unleash your team’s best ideas for a brighter bolder future. Learn more here.

See Also:

How to Find The Great Idea In Your Best Practice

How to Encourage More Micro-Innovation on Your Team

What No One Tells You About Leadership That You Desperately Need to Know

How to Disrupt the Disruption and Help Your Team Move Forward

Get More Done in Less Time: Learning From Crises

When are you most productive? If you are like most people I know the answer is easy, when you really need to be. Most of us have great examples of crises and other urgent situations, where folks pull together and get more done.

And yet, at other times, lots of stuff seems to get in the way. And we look at each other with the common question, “how can I get more done?”

We Use The Time We Have


It’s human nature. When we have time,, we use it.

Most projects take at least the time allotted. Most conference calls finish just-in-time. When is the last time you saw a BAU project expedited–because it was possible?

We know this as Parkinson’s law, work expands to fill the time allotted. Nothing is expedited when things are moving along as planned, because it doesn’t need to be.

What Can We Learn from a Crises?

One the other hand, in a time of crises, the time allotted is zero, so everything is expedited. There is something urgent that must be fixed. Suddenly, the normal protocols disappear and work happens fast.

There’s a lot to be learned about execution from a crises. At times of natural disasters, blackouts, and other unthinkable crises, teams pull together and execute in ways they never thought possible. Creative solutions emerge from seemingly nowhere, “impossible” deadlines are exceeded, and competitors collaborate for the greater good, Organizations and teams execute with an efficiency they never thought possible.

Why? What good can we learn from these undesired times?

Here’s a list of what I’ve seen first hand over the years, and observed and followed in other people’s fantastic stories of execution in a time of crises.

How They Get More Done

  • Everyone becomes energized around a common mission
  • Decisions normally made by committee, are made on the fly
  • People work extraordinary hours, and feel enlivened by their contribution
  • IT and other complex projects that normally require substantial planning are expedited and done in Herculean time frames
  • Communication becomes paramount: people talk frequently
  • Decision makers roll-up their sleeves to help, and the experts rise to positions of power
  • Standard protocols soften, and people support one another
  • Companies collaborate for the greater good
  • No one touches Powerpoint until the post-mortem
  • …???

Of course, we can’t live on an adrenaline rush all the time. And, fast decisions can also have downsides. On the other hand