The constant steam of headlines about companies and organizations losing public confidence because their leaders didn't follow best practices in crisis preparedness and crisis management should prompt every company to stop and ask this question: could it happen to us?
Is your organization prepared to face a crisis? Do you have clear action plans, roles and procedures in place, and is your staff familiar with them? Here's a quick check to help assess your organization's readiness. Select which of the following best describes your situation and find out how prepared you are to manage a crisis.
- We have a crisis plan with clear procedures that are understood and used by all employees.
Assessment: It's a good start but, there's always an opportunity to review your procedures with your team through tabletop exercises that help practice responses in real time and identify what can be improved in the action plan. Also, regularly update contact information for the crisis team and leaders, and ensure your key spokespersons are trained and ready to address audiences in a crisis.
- We have a crisis plan, but it's not refreshed regularly and many employees don't know it exists.
Assessment: If your crisis plan is outdated or you have not conducted a mock crisis test and risk assessment, now is the time to take action. Managers need to include crisis readiness in regular team updates so that each person is familiar with how to respond in a way that protects people and the organization's reputation. Refresh the plan, determine additional risks and consider staff training.
- Our organization has no crisis plan, and employees would be unprepared if a crisis happens today.
Assessment: If this describes your situation, your company reputation, and possibly yours, is in jeopardy. The lack of a crisis plan leaves an organization and its leadership vulnerable to criticism and to responding late and less-than-professionally to situations that are certain to arise. Accidents, allegations, financial failings, lack of safety — the list of risks is endless.
You'll never eliminate all risks, but how your organization responds to a crisis can demonstrate responsibility, transparency and leadership in times of trouble. Often it's not the crisis itself, but how it's handled and communicated that causes the real damage.
If you want to reduce the risk of damage to your organization's reputation during a crisis, then be proactive and get prepared. PCI issues management counselors help organizations of all sizes identify and assess their risk, then develop a crisis strategy and detailed plan that can guide you successfully through a crisis.