Article Summary:An overview of items that must be considered for any business crisis management plan.
All organizations should have a crisis management policy which is at the same level of importance as the mission statement and business plan. A proper crisis management policy can rapidly restore normality and confidence for workers in the organization. It also provides a good source of PR material for the media.
The term crisis management has different connotations. In this article, I will try to provide pointers that can be used in most situations:
Is It A Crisis In The First Place?
This question is important to ask, as there are many situations that go wrong because the right person to handle it is not around. You may be in charge of a project until your supervisor comes back and are unable to contact him during a crisis. You have to make your own decisions in his absence and your action is
dependent on the level of authority given.
The Big Picture
It is not easy to handle a crisis if you are not aware of the all the facts. If your role is a leader, you have to be detached from the emotional side of the crisis and rationally take stock of how to move on. Again, this is not as easy as it sounds as you may have longtime colleagues who are involved in this crisis.
The Relevant Team
It is important to be able to meet up with the relevant team to discuss about the situation. This is to ensure that the team is able to analyse and make a united stand about handling this crisis. This team should also comprise of the authorities, if the crisis is serious.
You must construct a timeline and ensure that each process scenario is highlighted. This practice will be a check to prevent your team from spending too much time in one aspect of handling the crisis.
Is there an organizational situational manual that you can use for this situation? Are you able to recollect the tips that were given to you when you participated in a mock drill?
You should get external experts to access the situation if the crisis is totally unanticipated. However, you must have had a close-door meeting with your inner circle. This is essential, as you do not want to unnecessarily reveal confidential information to external parties.
Speaking To The Media
It is important to prepare a press kit-which provides a full detailed report about the crisis. If you are comfortable to conduct a press interview, you have to ensure that you have the full details first.
Your Communication Style
You have to ensure that your communication style is in sync with the crisis. Remember to be forthcoming with reliable information and try not to speculate. This will also ensure that the victims' immediate families do not overly worry. It will also not help if you come across as very emotional in the media as you want to communicate that your organization has everything under control.
Beyond Your Control
If the crisis involves the loss of lives, it is not unthinkable that your credibility and organisation's reputation is put into question. Assuming that the crisis was beyond your organisation's control, you have to stick to your best judgement and not be led into a debate that may open your organisation to possible legal action.
Mr. Colin Ong TS is the Director of MR=MC Consulting Pte Ltd (www.mrmc.com.sg) which specializes in Corporate Training, Career Guidance and HR Content Producing. Their mission is to "create training programmes in the area of creativity, branding and innovation for organisations and educational institutions." A sought-after public speaker, Colin is also the copyright owner of the B2F2B Model.