7 Crisis Management Secrets for Your Small Business from a Two Star General

7 Crisis Management Tips for Your Small Business from a Two Star General

There are similarities between the techniques you need to run a successful small business and being a military leader. Both require discipline and an unwavering commitment. Small Business Trends spoke recently Major General (RET) Mike Diamond. The CEO of The Diamond Strategy Group and author of The Diamond Process shared these 7 crisis management tips for your small business.

Crisis Management Tips

Make Up a Red Team

During his military career, Diamond used a red team to represent the enemy so his soldiers could react to different scenarios. He suggests small businesses can modify that model to their advantage. They can substitute a military red team for the competition in their industry. This red team can also represent a negative force like a cyber security attack.

Take Corrective Action

Diamond stresses small businesses need to react when there’s a crisis. Management needs to adopt the mind frame something needs to be done when something goes wrong. They need to understand doing nothing makes a crisis worse.

He sees a common complacency with a lot of small businesses when it comes to digital matters.

“Even after they’ve been bitten and hurt, they don’t do anything to correct it,” he says. He suggests abandoning the attitude that any specific crisis can only happen once and adopting a more proactive approach.

Keep an Open Mind for KSAs

The resources for technology and education are continually growing. Your team members or employees can be a wealth of knowledge to help your small business to work through a crisis.  Diamond led over 27,000 military members in combat support operations in the Middle East. He knows the value of the most important resource a military or small business leader can have — the people around him. He suggests listening to their hobbies and interests.

This business leader who has a Master in Strategic Studies from US Army War College and BS in Finance and Accounting calls this looking for excess KSAs — knowledge, skills and abilities.

Survey the Team for Talent

Diamond explains why small businesses should take the time to poke around looking for hidden talents in their staff.

“This falls under the heading we use in the military: ‘You don’t know what you don’t know,’” he says. “If you do a little scan, you might find people that have other skill sets you’d really like to have for a crisis.”

Have Your Key Drivers in Place

Being proactive in important when you’re looking to develop a team to help you battle any business crisis. Having your Mission, Vision and Goals defined provides an excellent foundation.

Establish Your Business Culture and Values

It’s harder to rattle a team that pulls together when something goes wrong. Your small business might experience a suddenly drop in sales. When something like that happens it’s easier to motivate everyone when they’re working as a team with common values.

When everyone already knows the business culture and values, they have a common template to work from.

Nip Power Struggles in the Bud

If people in your small business are bickering back and forth it might be because you’ve created a leadership vacuum. It might be time to shore up your leadership style and embark on some team building exercises before a crisis strikes where your business is most vulnerable.

Salute Photo via Shutterstock


Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. Rob is a freelance journalist and content strategist/manager with three decades of experience in both print and online writing. He currently works in New York City as a copywriter and all across North America for a variety of editing and writing enterprises.

2 Reactions
  1. I have talked with a crisis management expert before and I found that you just have to have a plan for every possible crisis that may happen. That is the basis of crisis management.

  2. ..and the threats keep changing.