Crisis Management: Doing it Well in Five Steps

· Blog

Over the past few years, experts have analyzed the performances of organizations and businesses that were involved in crises. These experts were able to identify the key factors that allow for the best management in these situations. The following is a summary of these factors:

1.  Acting quickly and effectively

In crisis management, it should always be remembered that the first impression is the right one, especially when it is bad.

Because of the near real-time release of information driven by new technologies and social media, the first hours following the start of a crisis are crucial in the shaping of public opinion.

If a company stays silent, if it communicates badly or too late, the negative opinion of internal and external audiences will be difficult to correct.

To face a crisis, we have to be prepared and ready to react quickly, which requires: 

  • the immediate flagging and transmission of facts;
  • the analysis without delay of the crisis components and potential effects;
  • the involvement of all players involved based on a common communications strategy.

2.  Having a master plan

Another rule of thumb is that the company has to speak with one voice. Senior management and other key players have to know and respect a pre-established communication plan in order to avoid being overtaken by events. Regardless of the severity of the situation, we cannot forget that improper management of the crisis will only intensify its negative impact.

We cannot give into the panic either. By sticking to the defined scenarios, we can avoid generating rumours or provoking a loss of trust by clients and partners caused by hesitations and improvisations.

3.  Establishing an efficient chain of decision-making 

Having crisis communication plans and procedures is the best way to have an effective process by which information can be gathered before it goes out into the world. Such an approach allows us to anticipate every potentially disastrous situation and to determine the best way to communicate essential information to every player involved: media, employees, clients and other governmental or societal stakeholders.

In the context of a crisis, we have to clearly establish roles by designating those who are responsible and having their contact information easily available.

4.  Choosing a credible spokesperson

The spokesperson plays a strategic role. They will have to show composure, tact and diplomacy. We have to make sure that they are completely informed so that they can respond precisely to questions from media and the public. Needless to say that the concealment of information is to be avoided at all costs. Honesty and transparency are the best values when problems arise. 

Also, the phrase “no comment” that some tend to use in situations of crisis can be as devastating for a company’s brand image as the crisis itself because it makes it obvious that the company is not ready to face the situation and suggests that there is something to hide.

5.  Highlighting the human dimension

During a crisis, the goal is to restore or to maintain the trust of all involved.

We have to remember to highlight the human dimension and to take into consideration the consequences that concern the main players (victims, clients, etc.).

The company has to show its professionalism and its ability to put its words into action. We have to communicate the steps taken to resolve the issue, the means that are usually put in place to prevent this type of situation, and what will eventually be done to prevent a similar issue in the future.

Would your company be ready to deliver a strong performance in the event of a crisis? Contact us to implement the best practices for your business.