Building resilience to crises

For many ambitious owner managers, crisis is a stimulus for change and growth. For some, crisis may be too strong a word. For others, it may describe exactly how it felt.

“We turned up to work that morning and had a choice to make. Do we give in and close the business? Or, do we make the tough decisions and see what we can rescue? We went for the latter.”

“The (then) FD told me that we were insolvent. He was wrong. He didn’t understand our business model (that is why he is the then FD!) It was a real shock to the system.  I knew we had to do things differently.”

“We nearly went bust in 2002/3. In 2007/08 we posted a profit of £7m.”

“Crisis forced me into making moves. Sometimes you need a push – redundancy is a strong driver!”

Crises in business appear inevitable. In 1972, Larry Greiner defined his Growth Model consisting of periods of relatively stable growth followed by a ‘crisis’ – where major change is needed if the company is to carry on growing.

Whilst these crises hold the potential to provide significant learning and the stimulus for growth, they can also break the business. So how can our knowledge of them drive sustainable success?

If a smaller, growing business is to be sustainable, it has to build resilience to crises. What appears fundamental is the ability to take early action – a phrase that we’ve come to know as ‘confronting the brutal facts’. However, to confront these facts, you first have to see and to accept them.

For some, the signs of crises were clear but they just didn’t follow through: “I wish I had trusted my gut more – no advisor has been as good as my own instinct”. For others, they are lacking information and carrying on blissfully unaware: “it wasn’t until I went on a finance course and had to look through my accounts that I realised that we were on the edge of going under”.

Given that this is the case, some key questions worth asking are:

  • What are you doing to build your personal and business resilience to ‘crises’?
  • What have you learnt from your previous ‘crises’?
  • How have you used them to stimulate progress within your business?
  • What is the next potential ‘crisis’ within your business?
  • What are the signs and symptoms and how are you measuring them?
  • What is your ‘gut’ telling you about your business?
  • What brutal facts do you need to confront?
  • What early action are you taking?

Compass meeting # 2 – building resilience to crises

About adampscampbell
Passionate about helping ambitious business owners to create sustainable success. For information on our work with our broader client base please feel free to look at the website To connect more with our work with ambitious business owners follow me @adampscampbell or connect at

One Response to Building resilience to crises

  1. Pingback: Creating sustainable success for ambitious business owners « Telos Partners

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