How To Raise Your Team’s Game Without A Crisis…

Using Crisis Response Factors in the Absence of a Crisis by Harvard Business Review

“…What is it about a crisis that causes people and organizations to step up to new levels of performance?

There are three factors that are always present in the human response to them:

  1. Urgency: is the realization that time matters — that there are clear goals and even clearer consequences if they are not achieved quickly
  2. Empathy: is the identification that people feel with the crisis, the sense that we are connected and that one day we could be in the same situation and would want others to help us too
  3. Innovation: is the freedom to respond in ways that are out of the ordinary, that don’t get caught up in red tape, approvals, and complex decision-making.

Whenever these three factors are present, individuals and organizations tend to raise their game.

But when the crisis passes, these three factors also fade…Eventually, the focus…will go back to “normal” even though the needs…will still be far beyond ordinary.

A second lesson, however, is that managers need to find ways of sustaining urgency, empathy, and innovation if they want to expand and scale their improvements. It’s easy for people to go back to “normal” when a challenge is over and an initial result achieved. The hard work for managers is to build on short-term successes after people have achieved them.

Imagine how much better organizations could perform if managers could learn how to systematically tap into these reserves without waiting for a crisis, and then sustain the results. And imagine how much better prepared for all kinds of crises we would be if we greeted the more everyday challenges — not just the major crises — with urgency, empathy, and innovation.

Have you seen examples of these hidden reserves in your organization? Have you been able to build on them for the longer-term?”

Thank you Rhino for the Inspiration…

Image Credit


  1. This photo is amazing. Like the post.



  2. It’s called “Keeping high the rave level”! Thanks so much for this essential reminder about great managers keeping up a great atmosphere of PURE PASSION for the work!


  3. Tara Woodruff ~ The Challenge says:

    Excellent Post!


  4. Bill Flynn says:

    The message I hear in this post is that if I want top performance from my team I need to instill an attitude of Urgency, a feeling of Empathy and create an expectation of creativity. The danger for me is to believe that I can do that. Or at least I should try.

    The practice I have found most effective is to save Urgency for actual critical time frames. The idea of Urgency is adrenalin producing. Adrenalin causes the body to focus on action, shutting out reason. This is a survival mode. If this is appropriate to the situation, okay. But it is hardly desirable. This wreaks havoc on creativity, and virtually eliminates any kind of empathy. Everyone for themselves, including team members that get in the way and other co-workers who may not be involved in working ont he emergency.

    This is part of the thinking that control is the way to achieve an outcome. Even the military is realizing that the world is changing and the best approach to an objective is to gain insight on the territory and establish the problems first. Then plot the tactics which will fulfill the strategy which is the long term view of the enterprise.

    We hire smart, educated people to do today’s jobs. Then we try to figure out how to make them do our bidding. Why should they? Are the jobs we are offering so great that they should want to resign their person to us? Why not invite their full capability into the situation. Not because they have the answers, but because we need them to help us craft the solutions that will pay off the best.


    • Bill, I think you raise great points. Stomping and pressing continuously on the accelerator and running your car at 100 miles a hour – it’s only a matter of time when bad things will happen. Yet, there are times, I’ve found, that in order to cross the finish line for a critical deliverable, there is no other way but to press, demand, and inspire the collective to move. As some say, balance is everything. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and following. Dave


  5. “there is no other way but to press, demand, and inspire the collective to move.” That could be a motto! I often feel that is how things BIG get done! 🙂


  6. Reblogged this on Carlo Favaretti and commented:
    Tre fattori: urgenza, empatia, innovazione. Quando sono presenti, individui e organizzazioni tendono a raggiungere migliori risultati.
    Il problema è anche quello di “sostenere” urgenza, empatia e innovazione per non far cadere la tensione.


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