When I was a kid, I got so excited about the Easter basket, only to find the big chocolate bunny was HOLLOW inside. I just went for the jelly beans instead.
Likewise, the thing I loathed the most in MY own project work was staff with no crisis skills –those skills of coping, creative leadership, and positive attitude when bad or dumb stuff happens from poor decisions.
In my practice as a consultant, I see lots of hollow bunnies!
You can have the most skilled team of techno-bunnies but when a crisis happens, they cannot cope. If they were solid bunnies, they would not collapse, or melt down, but rise to the occasion and think, “WOW, now it is my time to show my stuff. Instead, they FREEZE and go into doom and gloom about the project, saying to peers, ” this will kill this project.” (catastrophe, really?)
- THEN, Hollow bunny staff run around reproducing their own anger with others. These symptoms are prevalent:
- They see changes, or dumb moves as the end of the world.
- They walk around saying, “I can’t believe this happened, I They infect others with a non-crisis.
- They personalize it and start blaming
- They DO NOT work on their project
- Focus on small stuff and petty problems
- Tend to handle the crisis in inappropriate childish ways, AND
- They become a disoriented, isolate and brood
Case study: NO Post Its?????
Consider a real example. So, the new finance guy decides that the R&D team is using too many Post its® and doesn’t order any. He sent out a message saying: “use regular scraps of paper like I do.” Of course, he hasn’t got a clue these are used for planning, nor does he ask: he is from retail.
BUT, the team’s response is Revolt! Led by a couple of hollow bunnies they lead a Sit down: do video games—web surf, slow down. Mind you, the leader is away at management training program on motivating staff. No work is done. Anger is rampant. No one knows except R&D. They are self destructing. Yeah, this is a real case.
Well, what should they have done? Solid chocolate bunnies would have:
- Gone to the Staples next door and gotten some (“That was easyâ„¢: “)
- Taken responsibility to meet with the new finance guy and explain WHY they need them face to face.
- See the bigger picture of financial issues; offer better suggestions.
- Show only short term anxiety:and some Social- Emotional intelligence.
- Use scraps of paper until you get some. WORK!
Research has shown if a computer goes down, it takes about 5 minutes for people to get back to something else. When hollow bunnies syndrome happens, a whole day can be lost . Then there are silly meetings to figure it out. Then they call me.
So what is the point? Even if you are not a Christian who grew up with this rite of Spring of baskets and bunnies, remember the point.
When bad things happen, RISE to the occasion and don’t melt crumble or melt down. It’s life.