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Boo! How to Handle a Crisis like Olivia Pope

We’ve all been there - everything is going great at work, and then - BAM! A seemingly unsolvable crisis pops up faster than you can search Google for help. For those of us who indulge in Scandal, we know that no one handles a crisis quite like Olivia Pope, the show’s heroine and crisis manager to the political elite. Our favourite line? “It’s handled.”

While we may not have her designer wardrobe or Emmy-worthy love life, we can steal a few pointers from her working style. Whether you are confronted with a colleague squabble, a surprise deadline, or a full-blown PR scandal, we’ve got it handled.

  1. Remain calm. Cliche, but true, it’s vital to avoid losing your cool in a tough situation. Especially if you are working with others, a temper tantrum will only make things more awkward and challenging for everyone involved. If you need to excuse yourself for a minute to cool off, do so. You can also write down the emotions that you are feeling now and decide to address them later.

  2. Get all of the details. Before you start frantically running about the office trying every possible solution, sit down and do your best to calmly gather all of the details of the situation. When did the problem originally start? How did it spiral down to this point? Who is involved? Could this just be a symptom of an underlying problem?

  3. Gather your team. Chances are, you are not the only one who this crisis is effecting, so do not forget to alert anyone else who should be in the loop at this point. Even if the problem does seem unique to just you, you will still want to feel supported. Enlist your work-wife, best friend, or even dog for listening and encouragement!

  4. Pinpoint specific steps. Oftentimes, we are tempted to cast a wide net of solutions in hope that one will catch. However, the most effective strategy is a bit counterintuitive and requires focused goals. Work with your team to implement several pointed solutions that can be analyzed quickly.

  5. Approach the crisis creatively. One of the most-admired qualities of Olivia Pope is her creative brainstorming. She thinks outside of the box, and her results are second-to-none. Think outside of your department, ranking, and maybe even city for the next possible solution. You may surprise even yourself.

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