Podcast 73 – Productive ways to react to a crisis

Podcast 73 – Productive ways to react to a crisis

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Let’s talk about: Productive ways to react to a crisis

In this podcast Jana Axline, Chief Project Officer and Director at Axline Solutions in the USA provides an in-depth insight into common traits of how people react in a crisis and also shares advice and tips on productive ways to react to a crisis.

Jana Axline, PMP, has a MBA in Finance and has spent the last ten years focusing on what makes great leaders. Combining that with a passion for project management inspired her to build Axline Solutions as a way to help companies remove obstacles in project implementation.

An accomplished international speaker and author of ‘Becoming You’, Jana regularly presents at conferences across the globe on project management.

Points raised in this podcast:

Common traits during a project in crisis:

  • Panic – sheer panic sets in and your emotions and fears are obvious to your project team.
  • Denial – project leader is in denial of any crisis and is carrying on regardless.
  • Workhorse – project manager tries to power through and work their way out of a crisis – this can lead to burn out.
  • Blame – project leader is looking to blame rather than getting to root cause.

Advice for reacting to a crisis:

  • Address the right problem – find out the true issue and focus on answering the questions as to why the errors/issues are occurring. Ensure you look at the project from different perspectives.
  • Figure out if the crisis it really a big deal – could this be an ‘artificial crisis’ – understanding if it is a crisis or if there is an additional option. Pause and understand who is driving the sense of urgency.
  • Decide when the crisis needs to be addressed – often there is a time frame associated with a task, find out if the issues need to be addressed and whether the issue is incorrectly categorised as a ‘crisis situation’.

Tips for how to react in a crisis:

  • Plan – have documentation and risk matrix in place to have a plan in place so when a crisis hits it can be addressed.
  • Perspective – does this issue really matter in 1 year from now, or is this really a road block you can re-direct on the project that will barely be remembered.
  • Don’t take it personally – don’t take the issues that happen on a project as personal failings. Don’t let your emotions get the better of you and be sure to withhold any frustrations and focus on being the peace in the room.
  • Project managers should be the champion of the resource – do whatever you can as a project manager to advocate on your team’s behalf. Advocate any issues directly to senior leadership.

Listen to Podcast 73:


Jana’s top tip – don’t take the crisis personally. As a leader it is your job to set the mood for your team. Set the standard and react the way you want your team to react.

To find out more about Jana’s services visit www.axlinesolutions.com

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