You have been given an assignment that the higher-ups feel is one of crisis proportions. It’s a crisis you have to handle. So, how do you go about approaching such a hot potato? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Come up with questions
The first thing you need is information, and you cannot get that information without asking questions. What you need to do is sit down and come up with a list of questions that will help define exactly what you are up against and what resources you have to tackle the problem.

Some of the questions you may want to ask: What does the leadership expect me to do? What would they consider an adequate solution to this problem, a successful outcome? Why do they consider this particular problem to be a crisis? Who is it that considers this to be a crisis and why do they think so? What are the deadlines for finishing this assignment? Who can I go to if I need help? Who will be helping me on this assignment? Who do I report to on this? What resources do I have?

2. Make a plan.
Given the circumstances, this isn’t going to be a detailed project outline like something you see on Microsoft Project. You just need to start with a list of the tasks you will need to do to achieve your objective.

Once you have your list and some idea of how long it will take, schedule a meeting with the person who you are doing this work for, the one who is really going to sign-off on the project, your client so to speak. Go over the plan, making sure you are both on the same page as far as exactly what the objective is and what achieving that objective means. Then talk about time frames. You may have to explain to the person that it may take longer than he or she realizes.

3. Carry out your plan.
After you have approval on your plan and a time frame, get together with your team so you can go over with them what needs to be done and deadlines, as well as who is doing what.

Remember, communication in this case is vital. You need to keep your superiors and your client updated on how things are going, as well as knowing how things are going among your team.

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