When events are out of control, focus on what you can control — gathering corroborated facts, aggressively addressing the problem at hand and proactively communicating.
Energy is wasted trying to control a crisis. By definition, a crisis means events are out of control.
Chaos can paralyze otherwise prudent, resourceful leaders. Real leadership requires looking past the chaos to deal with a crisis and preserve a reputation or brand.
While others are in a daze, leaders look for facts. What happened? How did it happen? What needs to be done?
Solid facts usually illuminate the path of what to do. Then it takes courage to follow the path, even if the chief financial officer or legal counsel argues for caution or delay. Acting decisively on good data is a sign of leadership and it builds credibility with those impacted by the crisis.
Having facts in your pocket and taking decisive action form the basis for making credible, powerful statements. You appear in control, which is the best you can hope for under the circumstances.
Control freaks don't fare well in crises. They fret over spiraling events rather than focus on events they can control to their ultimate advantage.
Dealing with crisis is not about control. It is all about response, which is the one thing you can control.