A crisis (plural: “crises”) is any unstable and dangerous social situation regarding economic, military, personal, political, or social affairs, especially one involving an impending abrupt change. More loosely, it is a term meaning ‘a testing time of your capabilities’ or you can say it to be an ’emergency event’. The effect of our inability to attend to the likely results of our actions can result in crisis.
Crises can be specific, unexpected, and non-routine events or series of events that create high levels of uncertainty and threat or perceived threat to your high priority goals. Thus the first three characteristics are that the event is unexpected (i.e., a surprise), creates uncertainty, and is seen as a threat to important goals. Crisis is a process of transformation where the old system can no longer be maintained or it is a result of some shortcoming in your present system. It may ask you to make some urgent changes in your line of action. Therefore, the fourth defining quality is the need for change. If change is not needed, the event could more accurately be described as a failure.
Apart from natural crises that are inherently unpredictable (volcanic eruptions, tsunami etc.) most of the crises that we face are created by man. Hence the requirement of their being ‘unexpected’ depends upon man failing to note the onset of crisis conditions. Some of our inability to recognize crises before they become dangerous is due to denial and other psychological responses that provide succor and protection for our emotions.
A different set of reasons for failing to notice the onset of crises is that we allow ourselves to be ‘tricked’ into believing that we are doing something for reasons that are false. In other words, we are doing the wrong things for the right reasons. For example, we might believe that we are solving the threats of climate change by engaging in economic trading activity that has no real impact on the climate. You can call it inadvertent and deliberate errors.
Thus human deficiencies appear to be responsible for crises such as the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 (regulatory failures), the Iraq war (intelligence failures), the climate crisis (greed and cross subsidies), and many of our ecological crises. From this perspective we might usefully learn that failing to understand the real causes of our difficulties is likely to lead to repeated downstream ‘blowback’ that will eventually be our undoing.
Times of crises are both dangerous and important. They are dangerous for those who have no courage to explore new dimensions of life. They are bound to disintegrate into different kinds of madness, because their mind was made by society. Now with society disintegrating, the mind cannot remain; its roots are in society. It is constantly nourished by society – and now that nourishment is disappearing.
Because society is disintegrating, a great suspicion, a doubt that was never there before, is bound to arise in individuals. And if they were just obedient people who have never gone beyond any limit that society has decided, who have always been respected, honourable citizens, they will immediately go mad. They will start committing suicide; they will start jumping from high buildings.
In times of crises, the danger is for those who have enjoyed the times when society was settled, when there were no problems. These were the people who had enjoyed the obedience of the mind, and these are going to be the suffers. It is a simple arithmetic. They will go psychotic, they will go neurotic – and these words don’t make much difference.
Times of crises are of tremendous significance for those daring souls who have never bothered about society’s respectability or about what others think about them, but have done only that which they felt right to do; who have in a certain way been always rebellious, individualistic. For these people the times of crisis are just golden, because society is disintegrating. Now it cannot condemn anybody – it is itself condemned, cursed. It cannot say to others that they are wrong. It is proving itself wrong; its whole wisdom is proving just foolish, superstitious.
The daring individual can use this opportunity to go beyond mind; because now society cannot prevent him, he is free. There has never been so intense a search for spiritual growth, for meditation. But there has never been so much madness either. Both are happening because the status quo is no longer powerful; it has lost control.
Today, the old mind, the old society has lost credibility – and not in one place, but all over the world. There are different kinds of old traditions, but they all have come to a point where so many things are scientifically proved wrong.
The most intelligent people are rushing towards the east to find some way, some method. The people in east are trying to copy the west. A strange paradoxical scenario is there! Somewhere somebody must know how to get over this critical stage, how to go beyond the traditional mind and still remain centred, sane and intelligent.
Thousands of people are moving towards the East. It is funny because thousands of people are coming from the East to the West to study science, medicine, engineering, electronics, and the people who know all these are going to the East, just to learn how to sit silently and do nothing. But it is a beautiful time. The grip of society is lost. But the people who will go beyond mind will create the new man, the new mind. And the most special thing to be remembered about the new mind is that it will never become a tradition, that it will be constantly renewed.
Your mind may have to become continuously new, every day new, ready to accept any unexpected experience, any unexpected truth… just available, vulnerable. It will be a tremendous excitement, a great ecstasy, a great challenge. So I don’t think this crisis is bad; it is good. If the new mind can prevail then life can become an enlightening process. And enlightenment will not be something rare; it will become a very ordinary human experience.
For betterment, you may have to learn the management of your crisis. Crisis management, occasionally referred to as incident management, is the process by which you can deal with a major unpredictable event that threatens to harm you, your status or your beloved ones. You may find three elements common in all the crises: (a) it may be a threat to you, (b) it may have some element of surprise, and (c) it may compel you to take action with a short decision time.
Crisis management is different from risk management, which involves assessing potential threats and finding the best ways to avoid those threats, crisis management involves dealing with threats after they have occurred. It is a discipline wi
thin the broader context of management consisting of skills and techniques required to identify, assess, understand, and cope with a serious situation, especially from the moment it first occurs to the point that recovery procedures start.
Crisis management consists of:
• Methods used to respond to both the reality and perception of crises.
• Establishing metrics to define what scenarios constitute a crisis and should consequently trigger the necessary response mechanisms.
• Communication that occurs within the response phase of emergency management scenarios.
During the crisis management process, it is important to identify types of crises in that different crises necessitate the use of different crisis management strategies. Potential crises are enormous, but crises can be grouped as Natural disaster as acts of God for example earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tornadoes and hurricanes, floods, landslides, tidal waves, storms, and droughts that threaten life and property, Technological crises as software failures, industrial accidents, and oil spills etc., Confrontation like boycotts, and other types are picketing, sit-ins, ultimatums to those in authority, blockade or occupation of buildings, and resisting or disobeying police, Malevolence as product tampering, kidnapping, malicious rumors, terrorism, and espionage, Crisis of skewed management value as short-term economic gain and neglect broader social values, Crisis of deception or Crisis of misconduct as deliberate amorality and illegality, concealing or misrepresenting information about itself and its products in its dealing with consumers and others.
Since it is well known that we can face crises at any time, they can come to us without prior notice. For that purpose, we must have contingency planning as the first step to ensuring ourselves to be appropriately prepared for a crisis. We can rehearse a crisis plan by developing a simulated scenario to use as a drill. If it is our family or our business organization or our department where we work, our plan should clearly stipulate that the only people to speak publicly about the crisis are the designated persons, such as the spokesperson or crisis team members. The first hours after a crisis breaks are the most crucial, so working with speed and efficiency is important, and the plan should indicate how quickly each function should be performed. When preparing to offer a statement externally as well as internally, information should be accurate. Providing incorrect or manipulated information has a tendency to backfire and will greatly exacerbate the situation. The contingency plan should contain information and guidance that will help decision makers to consider not only the short-term consequences, but the long-term effects of every decision.
When a crisis will undoubtedly cause a significant disruption to normal working, a continuity plan can help minimize the disruption. First, one must identify the critical functions and processes that are necessary to keep running. Then each critical function and or/process must have its own contingency plan in the event that one of the functions/processes ceases or fails. Testing these contingency plans by rehearsing the required actions in a simulation will allow for all involved to become more sensitive and aware of the possibility of a crisis. As a result, in the event of an actual crisis, you or your members will act more quickly and effectively.
Providing information to your family members or team members in a time of crisis is critical to effective crisis management. Structural-functional systems theory addresses the intricacies of information networks and levels of command making up communication system. The structural-functional theory identifies information flow as “networks” made up of members and “links”.
Sometime, you may have to open up to tender apologies to the aggrieved persons if any harm has been caused due to some incident which has come up with some contribution from your side. It is required in crisis management. However some evidence indicates that compensation and sympathy, two less expensive strategies, are as effective as an apology in shaping people’s perceptions about you taking responsibility for the crisis because these strategies focus on the victims’ needs. The sympathy response expresses concern for victims while compensation offers victims something to offset the suffering.
For proper management of crises in your life, you should practice to have appropriate sense making as it is considered a classical situation assessment step in decision making. Since crises do not give enough time to rehearse, decision making in those events is both the act of coming to a decision as the implementation of that decision. Whenever you face some crisis, you must handle the accountability question suitably. You must take the responsibility on your shoulders first if you are leader – actual responsibility process may take place afterwards. In crisis, the actual learning is limited. But it often opens a window of opportunity for reform for better or for worse.
Be Happy – Don’t feel panic with Crises.