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Wednesday, July 6, 2011


This summer in Chicago, at the Steps Up Assistant Coaching Symposium (sponsored by Felicia Hall Allen and her husband Johnny) one of my presenting topics was "Crisis Management."

Some of my key teaching points included preparation:

A. Anticipate Crisis -- know that in your career that crisis will occur

B. Prepare with a plan of action for crisis

C. Each crisis is different – but preparation and readiness the same

I think as a coach, whether you are a head coach or an assistant, the you must understand that much of your success in handling a crisis will have already been put in place by the foundation of your beliefs -- your core values.  And this is magnified if you have made those beliefs part of the culture of your program.

In this regard, I really love the way Coach Mike Krzyzewski has worded it in his book "Beyond Basketball" that he wrote with Jamie Spatola:

"Crises are not handled in the instant they occur but are prepared for in all of the moments that you and your team spend leading up to that one. You prepare for the crisis well ahead of time by establishing trusting relationships among all members of your team. For me, every team meeting, every practice, every individual conversation that occurs throughout the season establishes who we will collectively be when a crisis occurs."

During my presentation at Steps Up, here are some of my bullet points in handling a crisis:

A. Stop the bleeding
.....1. Meet the crisis head on
.....2. Work quickly to slow or stop the crisis
.....3. Understand the difference in approach
........a. Sense of urgency
........b. Panic

B. Patient Fact Finding
.....1. Take the necessary time to get the necessary facts
.....2. Don’t let the crisis be larger that it actually is

C. Prioritize
.....1. Players/Program come first
.....2. Everybody else comes second
.....3. “Things which matter most must never come at the mercy…”

D. Circle of Influence
.....1. Have a small but trusting circle of influence
.....2. Critical to have a sounding board for advice
.....3. Circle should have diversity and experience

E. Communication Plan
.....1. What you communicate is critical
.....2. What you don’t communicate is critical
.....3. Who/when you communicate with is critical
.....4. Must have an administrator in your circle

F. Be a solution oriented person
.....1. Successful crisis management is about problem solving
.....2. You need to be ready to have short & long-term strategies
.....3. Have a contingency plan (Plan A & Plan B)

By the way, plans, dates and location for next year's Steps Up Assistant Coaching Symposium is right around the corner -- we will pass along the info to everyone via this blog as well.  It is an amazing event!