What we can learn from crisis

This past weekend I was sitting in a line of traffic waiting for a train to pass, innocently counting the cars on the train when WHAM!!! Once I gathered my wits about me I realized that I had just been hit. I pulled off to the side of the road and the gentleman in the giant tank of a brand new Tahoe that just plowed into me came up to check on me (very polite of him). Later that day the insurance adjuster made it over to the auto shop that the truck had been towed to and what we had speculated about became reality. He told me that it was totaled. He said that the vehicle did exactly what it was designed to do in a moment like that, protect the driver and passengers by absorbing the shock of the impact. With a speed limit of 45mph, and no skid marks, the back of my truck crinkled up like used wrapping paper from my daughters’ 5th birthday party which happened later that evening. It’s interesting to me that they design vehicles these days to absorb the shock of the impact of an accident, and fortunately for me they do.

That statement the insurance adjuster made, that I was lucky the truck did what it was designed to do in the accident made me think, among other things, about crisis. Specifically that you and I can learn a lot about ourselves, the people around us, and the organizations that we lead in a moment of crisis. Here are a couple of thoughts that may help.

#1 Crisis is a Barometer

Crisis is simply a barometer to let you know where you are at. But you have to be willing to see it. Crisis will show you what you’re really made of, and it will show you what your team and the organization you lead is made of as well. Often times we don’t recognize what crisis is teaching us because we are too quick explain our circumstances away, shift blame, or we’re simply blinded by the pride of our own past success. Believing your press clippings can be a dangerous thing.

#2 When Crisis hits, it’s too late

When crisis hits it is too late to make more deposits into the vault. When that moment comes the only thing you can withdrawal is what has already been deposited. It’s too late to say I wish I had done more to prepare for this moment. The question we need to be wrestling with is this, “What are we doing today to set us up to be the right kind of person tomorrow?” By the way, the same question can be asked of the organization that you are leading.

#3 Crisis is an Opportunity

Crisis is neither good nor bad. It’s simply a mirror to show you what’s already there and an opportunity to change and become the kind or person or organization that you feel called to be. In fact the best leaders know how to create healthy crisis in order to build a sense of urgency within people and the organization that can lead to change and forward movement.

Posted in Family, Leadership, Spiritual Formation

4 Responses to “What we can learn from crisis”

  1. chisholm April 30, 2010 at 10:18 am #

    This was a good read, and i needed to see this. im glad you’re ok, too!

  2. paul alexander April 30, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    I’m glad I’m okay too…God was gracious. The only downside besides having to buy a new vehicle is I have to replace the Gator stickers!

  3. Erin May 1, 2010 at 9:20 am #

    How amazing that you wrote this blog entry. How amazing that I’ve read Holly McRae’s blog for several months, and you pastor with Aaron. How amazing you’ve accepted the position to be pastor at my church (Congratulations!). How amazing that each of my parents has endured a major crisis this week and here I am reading your blog entry (and am glad you’re okay). I am amazed and blown away by His ever-present love. Thank you for this entry. I love you through His love!

  4. paul alexander May 10, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    Erin, I’m honored and thrilled to be a part of North Metro! I’m floored that God would use this simple post to be an encouragement to you. Hope your parents are shinning for Christ through their troubles!

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