Tackle A Crisis Smoothly In 6 Easy Steps

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crisis management
What is a crisis? A crisis is a time of intense difficulty, requiring important decisions. Of course, it is the role of every manager to predict and prevent a crisis. But sometimes, you just can’t. Not everybody is Nostradamus.
You can still prepare for the unpredictable. Make the most of the uneventful times to plan ahead. Rash decisions made in the middle of the fire are rarely your best.

Anticipate and plan

A few years ago, the media shared the results of the Pentagon’s plan in case of a zombie attack. The Pentagon doesn’t really believe zombies are coming to eat us. But they used this as a case study for training their students to teach them the basic concepts of planning. You should also prepare. Identify the potential crisis threatening your industry or company. For each crisis:
  • Measure the impact on your customers, suppliers, general public or your company’s value.
  • Define what your main objectives are.
  • Consider who your primary audience is: employees, media, customers, investors, associations, public institutions…
  • Get prepared to reach them. Make sure you have easy access to lists or channels to address quickly these people.

Build your A-team

While building your crisis management plan, look for insights from internal specialists and use them on your “crisis team”. The day you face a crisis, contact them instantly and determine the best decision to take. Your crisis team should have at most 10-12 people from the following departments:
  • Security Manager
  • PR/Social Media Specialist
  • Medical Advisor
  • HR Manager
  • Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental Advisor
  • Legal Advisor
  • Crisis Management Advisor
  • Business Unit Advisor(s), Subject Matter Specialist(s) or Employee Representative(s) depending on the topic of the crisis
  • Crisis manager, a leader able to translate several insights into an enlightened decision.
Add them to a group on 247meeting Mobile and when the crisis comes, start your conference call with them all at once, wherever they are, with only one touch.

Identify a spokesperson

Once your plan is set up and your key messages defined, you are ready to speak in public. Train one main spokesperson to answer media questions and take part in interviews. It will make your message more clear and consistent. 

Keep employees and customers informed

Informing your workforce helps ensure that business continues to flow as smoothly as possible. It can also help employees post the proper information on social media. Control the information. Disclose it to your customers and suppliers before they learn it through the media.

Answer quickly and often

Set up your Social Media accounts to notify you in case a crisis appears. Google Alerts works well and is free but Hootsuite Social Media Management tool will certainly be more responsive. You should always have someone able to answer, even on weekend, or outside the 9-5 schedule. Don’t stay silent on Social Media to avoid the “bad buzz”, it will only make it worse. Acknowledge the issue and explain the actions in progress. More than anything, do not delete comments you don’t like. Have you ever heard of the Streisand effect?
Show the public your concern by keeping them informed and answering their questions.

Be transparent

Open and transparent communication can help defuse a brewing media frenzy. Do not try to hide anything when you’re under the spotlight. Avoid at any cost the arrogant “Sorry, but not sorry” speech. Humility always goes a long way with the public. 
Have you already faced a crisis which required an urgent answer? What did you find the most useful to deal with it?

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