Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker.
What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.
– Friedrich Nietzsche
When a crisis arises, if handled well, a company can come out of it stronger than before; if not, it might escalate into something destructive. There’s every reason to be prepared.
We’ll explain how to be crisis-ready from the following aspects: building a crisis management team, setting your guiding principles, identifying risks and rehearsing the scenarios and some simple steps that can contribute to your readiness.
Crisis Management Team
It’s important to have a group to validify what has happened, analyse the situation and come up with a plan to save the company from the brink of a possible abyss. Being tasked with decision-making in a critical moment, the team should have the experience, expertise and wisdom to make the best move.
To ensure an effective and balanced team, it might be best to involve representatives of all stakeholders – chief executive officer, public relations executive, head of departments, board of directors, shareholder representatives, customer representatives, as well as have media and legal advisors on board.
While everyone is scrambling and every kind of resource is being diverted to save the company’s reputation, it’s important to think about what the governing values and guiding principles are and bear those in mind in every step you take.
Having a fair, effective and thorough decision-making process in place is also crucial so you can make sure nothing is missed.
It might be the case that the media will approach different people for comments or different people will have the urge to share their own perspectives. To avoid disparities or parallel communications, it’s best to make it clear who’s in charge of external communications, be it interviews, proactive press releases or social media posts. On the other hand, it’s also important to make sure your internal communication is a free flow too so everyone understands where things are at to avoid unnecessary panic.
As things are ongoing, make sure there’s someone who is monitoring the situation and giving feedback for any revision or upgrade of the response.
Leaders of a company should ask themselves what are the hidden risks for the company? It works to identify those, assess the possible impact, plan a response, solidify the plan, rehearse the scenario, and then review and update the response if needed.
Having an emergency contact list ready is handy for any incidents. It can include details of the crisis management team, external advisors, support services, etc.
Training staff members to be crisis-aware is also important. Let them know to whom should they report when an incident happens and what the basic rules are.
Review recent crises in the industry and think about how your company would respond. Rehearse the scenarios and test your plan.
Do you have any backup resources ready? Think about what might be needed in each crisis scenario and make sure you don’t have to make a huge effort to reach them when in need.
Don’t forget the business need to continue operating during any crisis. Make sure there’s a plan to ensure this is happening.
Investigate the crisis and identify the causes. Review the incident and how it’s been dealt with thoroughly – any lessons learnt will help you to be a bit more future-proof.
Again, a crisis might become an opportunity if it’s handled properly. It doesn’t hurt to be more aware and more prepared.