Strategies for managing the realities of a "pre-crisis" business climate
The fact is, all companies are in a state of pre-crisis, and it’s precisely the time to analyze operations, envision what could go wrong and plan how your organization would respond. Preparation is key because managing a crisis demands that leaders exercise the wisdom to not jump to conclusions, as well as have the courage to focus on how things can be better in the future.
What are the steps to managing a crisis?
· Make the crisis about truth - How did this happen, what can be done, and how do we prevent it in the future?
· Take the leading role in your story – Define your own narrative before others do it for you. Be specific and clear about actions and commitments in light of the crisis, particularly with regard to prevention of future similar incidents.
· Set context and a new course - Charting a new course might mean bearing the cost of extraordinary measures to win public trust.
Planning in pre-crisis – Avoid making these 3 common mistakes:
1. Relying solely on a legal team as your bulwark. Set the right legal tone from the outset by aligning communications aimed at the court of public opinion with trial strategy.
2. Shifting blame reactively. While blame-shifting might work for politicians, that tactic often creates more questions for companies and can cause stakeholders to demand swift justice and a higher degree of accountability
3. Delivering a tactical mea culpa. There’s a difference between accepting fault for the cause and taking responsibility for the outcome.
Every crisis is unique, but every organization can and should prepare. The nature of your organization’s work makes many potential crises predictable. For example, if you collect personally identifiable information from your customers, then plan for a data breach. If you’re in a business that has environmental impact, develop accident scenarios and responses. Unfortunately, if you’re any organization today, you should prepare to respond if there’s a potential for workplace or public violence.