Crisis management: how do you tackle major challenges?

In our minds, everything usually goes according to plan. That is until reality rears its head – and it does so regularly and with consequences. Your goal usually remains the same. What can change at any time, however, and frequently does on several occasions, is the path you take to achieve it. Pioneering projects are usually characterised by an undulating path: sometimes the road heads up, sometimes down. Crises are part of this. What it comes down to, however, is properly weathering these crises and, in particular, preparing for them in good time. After all, suffering burnout or personal bankruptcy is no fun.

Example VillageOffice

What crises has VillageOffice had to overcome over the years?

First crisis: Capital cover

VillageOffice had been in existence a year, the team had its cash flow well under control and there was enough cash in the coffers. There was then a sudden decline in the capital cover.

Preparation: VillageOffice was already very aware at an early stage of what expertise was required in the team as well as which skills it had at its disposal and which were lacking. When this crisis hit, it was therefore quickly able to come up with a solution. An individual was added to the team who, from this point onwards, would focus exclusively on the topic of finance.

Most recent crisis: COVID

During the first lockdown, the team quickly set up a solidarity fund in order to provide its own hardship solution for non-billable expenses. Nobody in the team was paid a salary during this period, but nobody resigned either. When the second lockdown followed in February of the following year, things became really serious, however, and layoffs were unavoidable.

Preparation: As the team had addressed its organisational form at an early stage, it was able to respond in a flexible manner. VillageOffice adopted a cautious approach in expanding its workforce and always attached a great deal of importance to transparent and fair employment conditions. This was the foundation for even being able to overcome the coronavirus crisis. The project remained active the whole time and the core team remained loyal to it.

0 to 100 moment:

Enjoy the positive response following a successful change of course.

How it works

  • Don't forget:

    A pioneer project undergoes continuous change. This alone does not represent a crisis.

  • Success tracking:

    Use the impact logic you have created as a measurement instrument for your project success.

  • Recognising critical signs in yourself or colleagues at an early stage:

    In most cases, this will be down to being overburdened.

  • Seek help in good time and don't wait until it is too late.

  • Spread the load over various shoulders – if you drive yourself into the ground, usually nobody will benefit from it.

  • Set up an advisory board:

    Having the right people on the board acts as your insurance.

  • Organise work processes appropriately:

    This will allow you to focus fully on a challenge in an emergency.

  • Never underestimate the power of friendship:

    Real assistance helps.


Define an escalation level: specify when you will exit and how.

In most cases, different people also have a different appetite for risk. While for one person, things might only just be beginning to get interesting; for others, it is already time to bid farewell. You should discuss this question when everything is still going smoothly and the outlook is rosy. Once the storm clouds have started to gather, it is usually already too late.

Preparing for a crisis:

in this exercise, you will think about when too much really is too much for you and when enough really is enough.