Why Many Leaders Failed To Prepare For The COVID-19 Crisis

We never know when a crisis will hit. Something that will rock us to the core. Something that may even shutter the doors of our organization.

COVID-19 showed us how ill-prepared many businesses were when it comes to a time of crisis.

Woman looking down in a black and white photo

Photo by Ewelina Karezona Karbowiak

During the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve seen business leaders scramble to create a plan. To save their businesses. To help their team members.

There was no crisis plan in place. There was nothing to help leaders navigate through the coming crisis. For many, the crisis blindsided them.

The question that now has to be asked is: Why did so many leaders fail to prepare for the COVID-19 (or any) crisis?

Why Many Leaders Failed To Prepare For The COVID-19 Crisis

I’ve sought out the answer to this question. I’ve studied what other leaders have said about preparing for crisis. And I’ve asked those I respect their opinion on this topic.

The answers I’ve discovered are sobering. They show leaders are failing to prepare for a crisis.

This is dangerous. It puts the leader in danger. More importantly, it puts those they lead in danger.

So, what are the reasons leaders have failed to prepare for crisis? They are:

Leaders never thought a crisis like this could affect them:

One of the biggest reasons I have heard for not being prepared for the COVID-19 crisis is that leaders believed something like this would never affect them. Modern medicine and science have virtually wiped away plagues and widespread deaths due to the common flu.

Yet, we’re experiencing a wave of sickness that has decimated businesses. Businesses have been forced to close. They’ve been told not to produce. They’re sitting idle.

We never thought our businesses would be completely closed due to illness.

Leaders were too busy dealing with other issues:

The lives of leaders are packed with meetings, planning sessions, and personal growth. These are important things. They help us grow the business and ourselves.

There’s also the minutia of business. You’re knee-deep in situations that need your attention. You don’t have time to look at what else could go wrong with so much already happening.

This line of thinking, this line of jamming our schedules so full of things is what has led to the major freak out happening during this crisis.

We need to have breathing room on our schedules. We need to be able to step back and take a look at the bigger picture and theorize what could stop us from moving forward.

Don’t let your busy schedule prevent you from planning for a crisis.

Leaders never expected the government to order a shut-down of their business:

We witnessed something we’ve never seen before. We seen the government order businesses to shut their doors during the COVID-19 pandemic. They told businesses they had to close or be hit with fines.

This had a cascading effect. Businesses could no longer do business. Employees had to file for unemployment. Unemployment systems were flooded with issues.

All in all, I don’t think there was one business leader out there expecting the government to force them to shut their doors, especially not for an extended period of time.

We forget how much power the government can try to exert over us. This crisis showed just how much the government could do.

There are many other reasons why leaders failed to prepare for the COVID-19 crisis. I can’t cover them all but I did cover a few. I would love to hear the reasons you believe leaders failed to prepare for this crisis. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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