As an opportunity to turn things around before drastic measures are necessary.

Keeping track

When an organisation is fighting for its life, its leadership has an absolutely critical role to play: it must always maintain a clear overview.

Speak truthfully

If a clear course of action is set at the top and is communicated honestly and clearly, with zero equivocation, this tends to drive broad solidarity and prevents rumours and fake news.

Lead clearly and convincingly

The opposite happens when there is a lack of clear leadership: a mixture of paralysis, decline, and routine spreads. Paralysis as a result of anxiety.

No piecemeal communication

Then, there is the uncertainty. There’s only one thing worse than uncertainty, and that’s the truth in instalments. When this happens, employees lose all confidence and can no longer be motivated to take constructive steps. Outright hatred of their “tormentors“ can arise.

Every man for himself!

Everyone tries to save their own skin. The best first. Those left behind simply follow the rules – something customers and suppliers see all too clearly, prompting them to start avoiding the company as well.

The cards must be put on the table. Proactive, fact-based, regular and step-by-step communication creates trust and effectively quiets the rumour mill.

‘Close to bankrupt’ doesn’t mean bankrupt

As long as insolvency hasn’t been declared and bankruptcy proceedings aren’t initiated, there’s a chance of salvation – provided all parties are involved and that market demand exists.

Create prospects with a convincing strategy

Hope and cautious optimism can only be fostered if an articulate outlook and convincing strategy for lasting recovery can be seen behind the cost-cutting measures.

First, hedge liquidity

Liquidity is the "oxygen" needed for survival. Standstill agreements with suppliers, lenders, and authorities – along with debt restructuring – are all essential.

Eliminate unnecessary cost barriers immediately

All expenses which are not absolutely crucial to survival must, of course, be ceased immediately and transparently halted.

Focus on markets and customers

A company without customers cannot be saved. They are therefore a key factor for success.

Words matter

Measures must be communicated in a step-by-step and timely manner. Questions are welcomed as opportunities for encouraging responses that build trust.

Never is the need for leadership higher than in a crisis situation... Top management has a key role to play.

Top Management

Top Management must be fully committed. It must proactively decide, act, and lead. Guidance is provided through regular, step-by-step communication. The management of change projects cannot be delegated.

Crisis Manager

Intensively supports Top Management with the implementation; makes clear announcements at decisive moments, and – if necessary – demands commitment. Actively participates in the change process alongside senior management and employees.


Uncertainty, anxiety, and fear about livelihoods are the prevailing emotions among employees. This is why the Crisis Manager also helps ensure that painful changes are implemented in a considerate, unoffending manner.

When initial measures are first taken, much of the path forward has largely already been set. Because every social system reacts based on its previous experience.

Growing demands

Employees today expect to be able to participate, think collaboratively, and contribute. The same stands true in a crisis. However, the necessity for taking drastic action is accepted.

A new type of leadership is needed

In order to preserve employee loyalty even in times of crisis, it is important to say goodbye to the top-down management tradition early on, and to apply the concept of ‘situational leadership’.

Strengthening the soundboard

Based on an organisation’s given experience, a positive or negative mood already exists. The crisis leads to a mass psychological feedback loop, reinforcing the prevalent baseline mood.

Relevant players

When determining the measures to be taken, it is necessary to clarify who the opinion leaders are, what the balance of power is, which people have been burned and which have the best standing for the restructuring phase.


The higher the personal self-confidence, the higher the personal willingness to change.

As soon as it is no longer possible to work, bill and invoice, things get tight.

Functioning IT systems are essential

If the central IT applications don’t work at all – or only partially – for a long time and all – or part of – the operating process is interrupted, the question invariably arises at some point, along with the search for technical solutions and securing customer satisfaction... and it is this: “How long is the cash going to last?”

Not looking closely, for too long

It is only by analysing the numbers correctly that one can identify unprofitable committed funds, which become unavailable for other departments. And if a large-scale project destroys significant funds, things get tight.

A market breaks away

There simply isn’t any customer group that is willing to spend in a low-margin industry with high fixed costs. Within a very short time, the already-weak liquidity reserves start drying up.

Government intervention

Effective measures helped overcome the 2015 shock to the Swiss franc. Next time, we’ll be better-prepared, but drastic measures will – even then – still be necessary.

Crisis management is a business of trust. Crisis Managers must have performed the relevant functions themselves... And this is the case for me.

With all their idiosyncrasies and demands, and given my professional background, roles such as ownership, VRP, VR, CEO and CFO are very familiar to me, Jean-Paul Jaccard.

Started off as a logistics and auditing employee in banking, climbed the first management ranks in industrial plant construction; advised and trained management employees in accounting; CFO in the heating, air conditioning and ventilation industry; CEO in plastics processing; Managing-Owner in strategy consulting and IT project business focused on the healthcare sector; VR in the construction industry and energy industry. Helpful contacts with private equity and banks for raising capital.

A persuasive personality

Very quick in analysing and evaluating situations and people, their motives and actions. Very clear, open, and convincing in situational, level-appropriate, and trust-building communications. Using the right tone and leadership, establishes an optimistic and can-do attitude. Very strong commitment.

One customer: “With his calm ways, and by putting healthy pressure in the right places, Mr Jaccard gets things moving. Has a clear sense of what’s important and realistically feasible.”