My hands felt sweaty. The other passengers on the flight to Durban started to panic when the oxygen masks were released as we experienced a sudden drop in cabin pressure. Although the crew had been thoroughly trained on how to handle a crisis on board a flight, none of them had actually found themselves in this frightening situation. They asked anyone who had been airline crew to step forward. Instinctively I did so, especially since I had over 12 years’ experience working for an international airline. This was before I embarked on my career as a life coach, learning conversationalist and owner of VETTA Internationale.

Fortunately we made a safe landing back at Cape Town International Airport. The passengers were thoroughly freaked out, and I must say, I had a moment of anxiety thinking about what could have happened if this aeroplane had met its fate.

This brings me to the topic of this blog post. How to handle a crisis and come through unscathed, especially in organisations faced with emergency situations that require quick thinking,

What I teach in my crisis management workshops is the following;

  1. Stay calm. Take some deep breaths and if possible step away from the immediate situation in order to assess your next move.
  2. Consult with your team to find out the amount of damage that may be at stake.
  3. Do not play the ‘blame game.’ There’s no use re-hashing who did what, when and how. Your immediate concern is to figure out the best possible solution to the emergency.
  4. Take charge. Show up as a leader and let everyone involved understand that you have the emergency in hand and what steps you will take to solve the crisis.
  5. If customers are involved then communicate regularly what is happening.
  6. Do not say sorry. What is done is done. Mistakes may or may not have been made. It makes no difference.
  7. Rather take a systematic step-by-step approach on how to solve the current crisis.
  8. This too shall pass. Like any situation time will heal all wounds and whatever caused the crisis will blow over.

As an experienced trainer, mentor and flow coach I share with participants on how to manage a crisis and learn from mistakes. In all my workshops I share many life skills, not all of which can be written in training manuals.  It’s these life skills that are so relevant in the workplace today.

If you want to equip your team on how to deal with real-to-life situations, then consider my workshops – as many of the delegates that I train would say: “Lionel presents workshops in a style like no other we ever experienced; the information he shares is relevant, interesting, and leaves one thinking deeply about one’s next move!”


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