How would you know if you’re stuck in crisis mode? A crisis is something we feel, so it’s difficult to determine if the crisis is necessary, or something we’ve fallen into but don’t recognize or understand.
We’ve certainly faced crises in the past. We are safer and live longer than at any other time in human history. But our sense of crisis has increased in recent memory. We are now stuck in crisis mode.
Something has changed in the last 15 years. That change has been driven by the growth of technology. That technology has become visual, personal, and interactive. This has hacked into our brain function in ways we are just beginning to understand.
What is crisis mode?
Crisis mode has certain characteristics that we may not recognize. In crisis mode we focus on:
- Short-term vs long-term solutions
- Problems over people
These are the result of a part of our brain getting stuck in the “off” position. That part is known as our relational circuit.
Not only does crisis mode affect us, but it affects those around us. Neurologists are now learning that our brains sense how other people are feeling. We then try to mirror those feelings ourselves.
The result is, if someone you interact with is in crisis mode, you will be pulled into it yourself. And if you are in crisis mode, you will bring others there too.
The Costs of Crisis Code
Crisis mode is necessary and helpful in a real crisis, but it is always costly. When we are stuck in crisis mode, those costs pile up but we are unable to see them because any effort and expense is justified.
Some of the costs of crisis mode are:
- Physical stress
- Relational strife
- Financial waste
- Increased mistakes
- Lack of follow-through
- Loss of creativity, innovation, and collaboration
This loss of creativity, innovation, and collaboration is often the biggest unseen cost of crisis mode. That’s because crisis mode limits our ability to solve the very problem that is causing it.
Stuck in Crisis Mode
Crisis mode itself becomes a crisis. This is a self-perpetuating cycle that keeps us stuck. Unless we know how to break out of it we will get pulled in deeper.
How do we get out of crisis mode?