I’ve been told more than once that I should have been born on a beach. I don’t appreciate cold weather, I’m “over” snow after a few hours, and I always find a way of clumsily slipping and falling on icy sidewalks, patios, stairs, driveways … well, you get the point. Regardless of my feelings toward wintery precipitation, I do appreciate an unexpected life lesson.
So now that we’ve been released from the grip of Winter Storm Cleon, I wanted to reflect on a few things the storm taught me about times of crisis.
- Be prepared: Ask anyone in a primarily warm Southern state, and they’ll tell you about the side effect of a pending winter storm known as “elevated pandemonium.” The day Cleon hit, traffic was backed up for miles as people hurried to the stores only to find shelves void of food. A Craigslist ad offered a coveted loaf of bread and carton of milk for the low price of $1,000. Much like in times of crisis, a good plan for this possible problem would have helped avoid wasted time, accident damage and unhappy people. If you’re not prepared, get ready for a lonely, scary experience when crisis rears its head.
- Call the professionals: When my roof sprung a leak during the storm, I panicked. How did this happen? How long will it last? How do I fix it? It turns out that yes, it could be fixed, and no, I could not do it alone. After calling the professionals, I learned of the phenomenon known as an ice dam. They had seen it all before and quickly helped me come up with a plan to minimize and repair the damage. Times of crisis are no different. Often, it can’t be done alone and requires the help of an experienced pro.
- It’s (usually) not as bad as it seems: When the repairman I mentioned began the cleanup and repair process on the damage to my home, he said “This could have been a lot worse.” It was hard to imagine as I looked at holes in the walls and a room full of soaked towels and industrial drying equipment, but it was true. There could have been 10 times the damage, but because we reacted quickly, it was easier to resolve than we imagined. That brings me to my next point.
- Speed (and honesty) is everything: It only takes a couple of days of being iced in your home unable to escape to make us go a little stir crazy.After Cleon hit, it seemed to take an eternity for road crews to make enough progress so that roads were passable. Kids missed school, parents missed work and a lot of people got upset. Lack of resources was a culprit here, but that’s tough to see when it seems nothing is being done. The longer you wait to respond to a crisis, the worse the problem becomes and the more upset your audiences are.
- This too shall pass: Whether it’s a traffic jam in a storm, a leaky roof or a house full of screaming kids bursting with energy while you’re telecommuting and on a conference call, the snow eventually will melt and life will go on. No matter if it’s a health scare, accident or a financial crisis, you will get past it and move on to better days. Even so, a solid plan, experienced counsel and a quick, well-crafted and honest response will help those clearer roads and brighter days come sooner while making the remainder of the storm a lot more bearable.
What other lessons can a storm teach us? Tell us in the comments below or tweet your response using the hashtag #mcgblog.