The Most Powerful Trait in Crisis Management: Acceptance

Italy is one the countries which has badly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. By of today (22nd of March,2020) there are 53.578 cases*; in which 42.681 are active, 6.072 are recovered and 4.825 unfortunately reported to be finalized with death… It is easy to write down the numbers. But every critical case, every death is a tragedy on its own.

The Italy Government is highly blamed by the population, in not getting the right precautions to slow down the spread of the virus.

Why? What caused them to react to the situation slower then expected?

acceptance crisis lion - 380-200

Denial… And even with the global situation we are all in; this is still valid for some countries’ governments, top managers of some companies even lots of people around us.

In every change cycle we enter –especially the ones we are pushed without our will and expectancy– human beings always have to do through a phase of Denial before they can enter the phase of ‘Critical Thinking & Planning’. ‘No, the crisis will be over’, ‘They are exaggerating…’, ‘Nothing will happen to me or my loves ones…’ etc. But the duration differs from person to person. For some it takes a moment, for some maybe days, weeks, months to acceptance.

I also need to confess that I was also not aware of the criticality of the situation until I have read these sentences from the Italian Doctor Dr. Francesca Cortellaro, from the San Carlo Borromeo Hospital in Milan:

“You know what’s most dramatic? Seeing patients dying alone, listening to them as they beg you to say goodbye to their children and grandchildren. When they are about to die, they sense it. They are lucid, they do not go into narcolepsy. It is as if they were drowning, but with time to understand it.”

These sentences translated the numbers above to human tragedy. Something that I could feel, empathy.

If there are still people, companies around you that does not understand the possible implications of this crisis; do not talk to their neo-cortex to their conscious mind. Talk to their mammalian brain, to their emotions with stories and visuals they can connect and feel.

Only then that they can accept and start going through the ‘Critical Thinking & Planning’ phase.

Hope to meet on healthy days.

Sebnem Gürün Özeren

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