48 Days and 15 Minutes

This piece is a satirical spoof of a Forbes article on handling leadership/business crises in 15 minutes, and is in no way a criticism or normalisation of anyone’s coping mechanisms, but a satirical observation. Now that that is out of the way, enjoy.

While we are all entirely aware that crisis management training is imperative for leaders and senior teams in this day and age, much of it seems to be very much retrospective, focusing on the lessons of a bygone era. The new control culture and desire for understanding in a baffling climate is often not stressed enough. It is clear therefore, that in a situation like this, certain fundamental tasks must be undertaken to handle the crisis at hand.

As a self proclaimed leader and expert in crisis management, here is my foolproof plan for coping with the Covid-19 crisis. 

  1. Become the trusted voice in the situation.
    Offer to take someone groceries (be put out when they say yes) and relay only the good news you hear on the BBC (whilst saving the rest for a tweet later on).
  2. Give the crisis your full attention.
    Start writing your final dissertation chapter and then remind yourself that you shouldn’t be worrying about something as futile as a 10,000 word essay and should instead put all of your energy into wondering whether you washed your hands enough before placing your grandmother’s groceries a few paces in front of her door.  
  3. Pull the trigger on your crisis plan.
    Get the Star Wars films ready, buy three different types of chocolate buttons, including but not limited too, dairy milk, milkybar and smarties buttons. Insulate with a duvet, and set your plan into motion.
  4. Find out the facts and connect with the authorities.
    Go online and look at how you apply for a test, call your sister’s friend’s cousin’s boyfriend because he is a doctor and your temperature has been 37.9 for half an hour now.
  5. Monitor social and traditional media closely.
    Having never looked at any news site other than the BBC, you must now start reading the Mail, The Telegraph, The Independent and The Guardian, in case one of them has been told something that the others dont know. You will also scoff at your second cousin sharing a post from a Whatsapp group telling you that heat kills the virus, while secretly turning your shower up a few degrees and brushing your teeth with hot water.
  6. Understand the scope of the issue and assess critical decisions.
    Make sure you check the death toll everyday, whilst also telling your seemingly more stressed friends that that is an unhealthy thing to do. Also see how many countries have been affected, and where you certainly won’t be going on holiday anytime soon. Check what the minister of the day is doing and be sure to write a tweet expressing the grave nature of the situation and why you (along with the rest of the non-medical professional population) believe he is doing the wrong thing. 
  7. Issue a holding statement ASAP.
    Ensure you post something on your social media about how you will be executing lockdown, change your twitter name to something suitably witty, e.g. Quentin Quarantino, that you have seen 40 other people doing. Update your LinkedIn, reminding (begging) people to still check out your work, despite being furloughed and having no idea how much you will be getting paid. 
  8. Put people first.
    You may be exhausted after a long day or twitter scrolling, TikTok dancing, and complaining about the situation at hand from your comfortable detached house with a garden, but make sure to put the needs of a friend who wants to drink a bottle and a half of sauvignon blanc over Zoom and talk about how much they miss their partner first. You are after all, a leader who understands people’s need for familiarity, care, and fermented grape juice.
  9. Correct any errors of fact that are already public.
    Make sure you tell everyone that you made a total mistake saying it was just like the flu, BUT the figures DID look awfully similar from the offset, and maybe you should’ve prepared better and not just stockpiled the last bags of fusilli in Sainsburys. 
  10. Contact your key audiences.
    If you haven’t started having zoom calls/quizzes/drinks/games nights with people you would never have had them with before, you are simply responding poorly to the crisis. Your target audience is now everyone you have ever met, and you will use large quantities of social interaction via webcam with people you may have bumped into and said hello to in a local pub, to fill the gaping void you feel to hold a loved one or have a flat white in your favorite coffee shop. 

But above everything else, make sure you have rewatched the same eight seasons of Gilmore Girls, for the third time in recent history, and tell everyone that “it’s really not so bad all of this is it?”, from your comfortable home and furloughed paycheck (while telling some friends you would give your left tit for a night at the pub). Oh and of course, don’t forget to say what a fantastic job BoJo is doing and clap for carers on a Thursday in spite of your voting history.

Imogen Brighty-Potts

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