What to do When Things Go Wrong: 6 Steps for Handling a Crisis

Panic turns into chaos, which leads to fear, then isolation, and lastly paralysis.

That is a very typical chain of events when things go wrong. And things do go wrong in business.

Things break. People jump ship. Servers crash. Clients leave. All of which can lead to a crisis.

Problems will come. How a leader reacts to these problems is what’s important.

Steps for Handling a Crisis in Business

The right strategy for handling a crisis can turn a negative into a positive. Let’s look at what not to do and then the six steps for handling a crisis. I’ve used these over the years managing affiliate programs of 9,000+ people, leading teams of less than 10 people, and running organizations ranging from start-ups to political campaigns.


Do Nothing.

The absolute worst thing you can do is nothing. When a crisis is pending, action is always better than inaction (and meeting about the issue counts as action).

Say nothing.