One of the worst things you can do is to try and make important decisions when you’re under great stress. While it can sometimes be necessary, the chances that you get it right are rather slim.
The best way to mitigate the risk of ending in that situation is to always have a contingency plan; a pretty straightforward plan that says what you are going to do if the shit hits the fan, and you need to get into full crisis mode.
Will the contingency plan always fit the crisis situation spot on? Of course not. But it will give you a much better vantage point to deal with the crisis from than – worst case – sheer panic.
A good contingency plan should focus on how you plan to deal with the really tough questions, if you need to:
How do you minimize your burn to the essentials without risking killing your company in the process? How do you deal with your team and let them in on what is happening in the best way possible? And following on from that: How do you scale your organization to the new reality in the best possible way?
These are all super hard decisions that no one are comfortable making. But by at least having given it some thought well in advance, when things are still looking good and going in the right direction, you’re able to address them with much more clear eyes and a sharp mind.
You can always hope and work towards ensuring that you will never get to use the plan. But at least you will have one. And that’s a huge difference.