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As we come to the end of a year that has greatly challenged us all, we have been reflecting on some of the positive aspects that have emerged from this arduous period. It has certainly strengthened the cohesiveness of our team, enhancing our creativity, resilience and flexibility.

This got us thinking about how our clients and candidates have managed during this crisis, and so we have put together some of our insights to develop a crisis-management tool kit that can be applied when trouble strikes.


A leader is expected quite simply to lead – you are not supposed to be the subject matter expert. Your role is about understanding who in your team has the right knowledge, skills and mindset to create effective solutions. It is perfectly acceptable not to be the authority on every aspect of a strategy, that’s why you have a team of experts!

“It is absolutely vital that you show willingness to let others voice their opinion and take ownership” Added Andy Halliday, Co-Founder, Halliday Marx.

Encourage your team to speak up, and ensure you promote an environment where every idea is considered; a team who can openly bounce ideas around will quickly come up with effective solutions.


With your team feeling free of restriction, it is time to organise them into the most effective structure possible. Divide teams into small units of subject matter experts who can work through potential strategies quickly. The idea is that the team move through scenarios, classifying them as potential solutions that are worth resource and effort, or dismissing them as a ‘no-go’. It is important the team agree why the options would not work, so that this knowledge can feed into future versions of the plans you come up with.

This model of rapid deployment and team deployment is often referred to as a ‘Virtual War Room’.

Lessons in Improvement

In order to perfect an environment of empowerment and ownership, our top financial talent know to avoid the blame game when unexpected failure strikes. They aim to improve the collective understanding of why things happen and, more importantly, how this failure can be leveraged into a future success. They do not appreciate those who seek to point the finger at others, truly viewing all mistakes as an opportunity to learn and build on future solutions/outcomes.

“Our top talent gained incredible respect during the last 9 months through focusing on their team’s successes, rather than apportioning blame when failure occurs”, added John Marx, Co-Founder, Halliday Marx. “A no blame culture maximises the overall accountability of the team, and makes for more robust outcomes”.


The debrief is an opportunity to gather as many perspectives as possible on what has been learned from the actions taken. Leaders who create a culture of trust will get the most from this exercise. When done well, it is good for the team, organisation, existing and future initiatives.

The information shared reflects both the positive and negative experiences of any actions/solutions taken, so it is important to encourage everyone in the debrief to forget seniority or organisational politics – it is only as effective as the level of comfort your team has about their ability to share openly.


Exceptional leaders truly understand that in times of crisis, no job is more important than taking care of their team. They understand the stress imposed on individual members, the conflicting priorities and personal challenges their team are likely experiencing. We have seen great outcomes where leaders have actively looked for ways to motivate, support and engage their teams, ensuring they have access to all they need to perform their job effectively.

In Summary

Effective crisis management is about empowering your team, understanding how to quickly organise the available experience in order to come up with a series of robust solutions to help you move forward. It is about creating an open and honest environment where people feel confident to make suggestions and collectively discuss their ideas.

If you need help identifying, recruiting and retaining high-quality financial leaders, call us on 020 7096 8200 or email us at [email protected]. Let’s start the conversation.

For the latest financial opportunities, company updates, recruitment information and career advice, follow us on LinkedIn and twitter@HallidayMarx

Our philosophy is simple: Do things simply, do them well.