Last Thursday we had an unexpected little visitor in our backyard. It was a small black kitten. Judging from its size we estimated it to be about 3 to 4 weeks old. Over the weekend I pondered the experience of finding and helping the lost kitten and how it related to a project in crisis.
1. Assess the situation – When you find a kitten in your yard, the first thing to do is to assess the situation. Where is the mother? Where is the rest of the litter? What are the risk factors? Finding no mother or litter, and with many raccoons and skunks in our neighbourhood (not to mention our swimming pool), we knew the kitten to be in danger. Likewise, assess the project in crisis. Who are the players? What are the goals? What are the risks? How did we get here?
2. Triage – Prioritize your next steps. What needs to be done now? Judging from how the kitten was licking and nipping at my hands, we knew it was hungry. Unable to drink from a bowl, we found that it was able to lick milk out of the palm of my hand. Identify your top most concern in your project as well. You may have to use unconventional methods to resolve your problem.
3. Get the right help – We knew that we were in no position to care for a kitten that needed round the clock nursing, so we called in the experts. We took it into the Humane Society. Make sure your project in crisis has the right people with the right skills. You may need supplementary help in the short term to meet any skill gap.
4. Your client will not be happy – The poor little kitten cried and yowled all the way to the Humane Society in the car. Likewise, your client in a project in crisis will not be happy either. You are attempting to minimize or mitigate damage at this point. Best to avoid losing your kitten in the first place.