Divide and Conquer – a Strategy for Crisis

There is a military-command structure we can learn a valid lesson from in a business crisis:

Divide + Conquer

I am not really a fan of wartime stories but in times of crisis, some lessons are worth looking at, because military organizations work especially hard to achieving clarity on who does what and who makes which decisions. There is a simple reason: in chaotic situations, it is essential to focus everybody on what they do best and define their fields of responsibility clearly.

In businesses, we tend to assign crisis response to a single management group. A wartime command establishes several teams charged for distinct tasks (see picture 1 below) .

They usually cover four areas:

Insights team

This team focuses on finding the truth by collecting intelligence, analyzing internal and external conditions, and testing hypotheses.

Operations team

This team concentrates on delivering results by coordinating urgent activities and driving the execution of command orders.

Plan-ahead team

This team is responsible for creating scenarios and recommending strategies and actions. It often operates as multiple sub-teams, each of which addresses a different time frame or challenge. Together with the relevant decision-making groups, these teams facilitate analysis and debate and then make decisions that become orders for the operations team to execute.

Communikation team

This team focuses on providing timely information to a broad set of external and internal stakeholders in a cohesive way.

dedicated Teams, that speed up the decision processes in a crisis:

Lessons from the generals: Decisive action amid the chaos of crisis

You find the full article by McKinsey „Lessons from the Generals: Decisive action amid the chaos of crisis“ here.

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