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When disaster strikes, your small business has an opportunity to innovate. A disaster limits your resources and taxes your employees, forcing you to think differently. You have to get creative to work it out.
If you've assembled a strong team, they will naturally rise to the challenge. They'll step into new roles and come up with creative solutions, many of which might be good for your business long term.
By looking at how your team responds in a crisis, or the ways they naturally innovate under stress, you can put together a plan to move forward that will help you come back stronger--better off than you would have been without the disaster.
Here are three ways to spur innovation as you recover:
1.Evaluate the problem holistically. To innovate after a disaster, you need to see the bigger picture. The eye of the storm might be centered in one area of your business, but the circumstances that enabled the problem are most likely dispersed.
Without laying blame or pointing fingers, find each of the points where the process broke down. Maybe you need better channels of communication, more comprehensive vetting processes, or clearer messaging about your company's core values. Look at the ways employees compensated during the crisis and capitalize on the most effective strategies, or come up with new ones altogether.
2. Notice unexpected strengths. High stress situations often highlight core strengths, so crises give you an opportunity to see your employees in a different light. Some people will naturally step into leadership roles, even if their jobs don't demand it, while others might be particularly good at coming up with creative solutions.
Related: 4 Ways to Discover Your Strengths
As you get back to business as usual, give your employees opportunities to utilize or develop the strengths you saw in the crisis. You may want to move someone into a different role, expand their responsibilities, or connect them with a mentor who can develop their strengths more effectively.
3. Act when the memory is fresh. During a crisis, teams that normally interact very little often have a chance to collaborate. That type of cross-communication spurs creativity and innovation, so you want to prioritize improvements before everyone settles back into their usual routines.
Make sure that teams tasked with finding solutions come from all over your organization, representing different aspects of the problem. By allowing them to work together as they did during the crisis, you'll wind up with a stronger, more creative solution.
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