High Performance in a Crisis: Maximising Success During and After Covid-19



No one needs reminding that we are in challenging times. A small number of industries will benefit from current changes in economic patterns, but the majority will suffer.

However, a lot of organisations will survive and thrive in the years ahead, this article looks at common actions and behaviours which maximise the likelihood of this outcome.

The ideas in this article are not in any way new, but they have been highlighted over recent months and are what many aspire to achieve.


Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk

Many organisations talk about a high-performance culture. However, the reality is that even in good times this is often more about marketing than reality, and in bad times these ideas disappear completely, and employees are treated as a cost or resource to be maximised.

Those organisations brave and enlightened enough will continue to pursue a policy of high performance through a positive culture and through engaging with the workforce.


Encouraging High Performance

It is clear that in a time of crisis, both high performing environments and toxic environments are magnified, not changed. The bad get worse and the good get great.

So how are the best maintaining an engaged, motivated and high performing team even in the midst of a crisis? Most importantly they hold their nerve and stick with what they believe in. Which usually consists of a mixture of the following:


1.  Purpose

A purpose, which is true to  who you are, and that the team are passionate about, will bind a group together when times are tough.


2.  Values

Company values must be lived in the bad times as well as the good. It is particularly important that senior leaders be seen to live the values even when everything seems to be against you.


3.  The Right People

No organisation is perfect and in times of crisis it is key to ensure you have the right people, those who truly live your values, believe in your purpose and are willing to fight hard for the team.


4.  Communication

Timely, clear, honest, open and compassionate; never hiding from the bad news. Even great teams may well have to let people go in a crisis.


5.  Diversity and Inclusion

The best teams ensure their values, trust and communication are applied consistently across all in their team but are also compassionate to the fact that differing communities and individuals may suffer differing impacts and strains during a crisis. The team supports all and works out how everyone can contribute in the best way they can.


6.  Hiring/Onboarding Process

Many will of course not be hiring during this time, but those high- performance teams who are do not make the mistake of treating people as disposable due to market conditions. They put the same passion and rigour into each process and hire and onboard as they normally would. The worst teams see this as a ‘buyers’ market’ and treat people as a cheap resource.


7.  Continuous and Rigorous Training & Development 

Training and Development are not nice to have, they are essential. Costs may be cut but there is always knowledge and talent within any team that can be shared internally to drive up skills.


8.  Outstanding Delivery

Now is not the time to start cutting corners. The best teams and companies maintain their high standards and professional delivery even under extreme pressure.


9.  Serve to Lead

The best leaders ensure that they are delivering for their team, that they hold themselves to the highest standard and act as an example and support to others during turbulent times. Leaders must step up and serve, others will then follow.


10.  Culture of Trust

Crises, falling revenues, restructuring, can and often do break a culture of trust. This is where open and honest communication is critical to ensure that all parties will maintain trust and confidence that everyone is doing all they can to move the organisation forward.


11.  Growth Mindset

The best teams avoid going into their shells, but instead realise they can grow through this. A crisis often offers the chance for rapid personal development and growth opportunities for any organisation.



None of these concepts are revolutionary, none are new, and they are by no means a definitive list. Nevertheless, aligned as one set of consistently delivered processes they can and do have a dramatic impact, especially during a crisis.

They will accelerate a team’s ability to recover, but even more importantly the team comes out the other side stronger and better equipped to succeed.


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