Do you know this law of energy? “An object in motion tends to stay in motion unless a force like friction or resistance steals it away. ” I came across this while thinking about the power of flywheels. Flywheels? That’s right. I am contemplating the best ways to maintain forward momentum while managing any number of crises that may come up in both personal and professional life.
Historically, when I’ve thought about building momentum and productivity, it has been from the perspective of developing the tools and systems that support these qualities. My own story is about surviving a disaster, a landslide, and going on to not only rebuild our lives, but to improve them dramatically. I’ve written a book, produced podcasts and created a course designed to help people understand that they can do this as well and lead them through the process.
What has surprised me after a year of managing a series of crises is that it is as important to the long term survival of the lifestyle and businesses you create to also come to grips with how you maintain your momentum when friction and resistance occur. And they will. According to the laws of physics, it is impossible to build a perpetual motion machine. Energy will bleed away unless you are actively maintaining and watching for cracks in the systems you have built into your operation.
I am still developing my understanding of how to maintain momentum and manage crisis at the same time. However, I believe I can share a few insights that may prove helpful to you when and if you find yourself in such periods.
- The basic success principles hold true. Know your purpose, your why and your prime directive. This is your GPS system to keep you on track and provide your anchor when stiff winds blow against you. Master the art of positive self-talk. It will give you the discipline to stay focused in a positive direction and help you be more resilient and resourceful.
- Plan well. Plan the intended flow of your activities, schedules and calendar. Then go back and plan for the unexpected so you can be prepared with a Crisis Game Plan. Buy insurance. Stay up to date on what’s happening in the world around you. For example, three times this year we have had to pay attention to union negotiations and determine their potential impact on the show. Hold strategic planning sessions and build “What do we do if” scenarios. If you have a game plan, it will reduce the uncertainty of your situation. You will have What-If options defined.
I had the opportunity to speak with one of the producers of The Amazing Race at an Emmy event years ago. He told me about the depth of their contingency planning for each episode. I was impressed. It took a lot of work to anticipate all the things that could go wrong with 12 people running around the world, catching flights, losing things, missing connections or running out of money. It’s a good lesson to apply that kind of planning in your play book.
- Establish systems and routines. We established regular systems and routines and each person in the company quickly learned where they fit into those systems and what they were expected to contribute to keep the daily machine running.
I am really thankful for these systems. During the past year, the show has gone through several challenging situations. They were unplanned and our attention needed to be focused on them. We had to manage the crises coming from so many directions that we did not have time to be proactive. A good team, the systems and routines held it together.
- We didn’t stop. We didn’t let crises interfere with our prime directive to deliver one new 2 hour show per day, 5 days per week, 52 weeks per year. At differing times, we were frustrated and angry, producing in spite of broken hearts, and always uncertain of the outcome. Our professional team kept it going. They have never failed to “get ‘er done.” They persisted in the face of numerous personal tragedies affecting them, their co-workers and the company and continue to give their best.
- The show’s creator frequently spoke to me about the importance of “keeping it fresh.” During the two daily production meetings, ideas were examined from a variety of perspectives, but finding the new and unusual was important. And I imagine that the excitement of keeping it fresh also helps us when we are dealing with problems.
What I have been writing and creating applies from a crisis management perspective in both personal and business scenarios. If you are going through such situations yourself, feel free to download my Survivor’s Guide: 12 Tips to Gain Inner Peace and apply the tips you find there to them. It’s available at www.GiftFromSusan.com.
Personally, my goal at the moment is to keep positive energy flowing into our work and reduce friction and resistance, so that we are that object in motion that stays in motion. Keep pushing on that flywheel. It appears to be a key to maintaining momentum while managing crisis. Enjoy the tips — and use them.
I believe in you,