Managing a Crisis

Managing a crisis can be a difficult and complex, even if you are well-prepared, which we are usually not in most cases.  Having a plan on how to deal with a crisis at your place of business is imperative.  Obviously, a plan will not always fit every crisis, but dealing with the basic framework of how to respond is critical.  The plan should think of all aspects of the potential crisis.

Types of Crises

Financial – This can happen when a business experiences a drop in demand, whether it’s a product or a service.  Value is lost in assets and the debt becomes real.

Personnel – This occurs when an employee or someone associated with the business is caught in unethical or illegal behavior.  This behavior could either occur in the workplace or on personal time.

Organizational – This occurs when a company has wronged their business or taken actions that impact their customers negatively.  The organization can get a bad reputation that can cause a serious issue for future sales.

Technological – This occurs when a business’s server goes down or software crashes.  There can also be a data breach that occurs where customer’s secure data goes missing.

Natural – This type of crisis can involve a tornado, hurricane, earthquake, or even fire that destroys business space or assets.

How to Manage a Crisis

Respond Quickly – Once a crisis occurs, staff must work hard to come up with damage control and a response in a timely manner.  The longer a company waits to make a formal response, the worse the situation looks.  Racing to give a conclusion is not the best way to handle an issue either, so take your time to get the response correct.

Seek Guidance – When you are developing a response to a crisis, consider reaching out to your legal counsel, public relations, and anyone else that may know what type of advice to give.

Be Visible – Let people know who is charge of the crisis and that you are the point of contact.  Don’t hide behind the corporation.  Have a spokesperson that is a great speaker and does well under pressure.

Put People First – When an organization is in crises, they may want to put the organization first.  Make sure you are putting people first and standing behind your employees.

Own It – When there is a problem or issue, make sure you address it and take ownership.  Don’t attack the accuser or blame others for the crisis.  Give a sincere apology and take responsibility.

Communicate – Keep in contact with the public and update frequently.  Ensure that you are being honest and upfront with all information and conveying it in a quick manner.

Document – Make sure that everything is documented clearly and stored in a proper location that is safe, due to confidential information.

Find an Ending – Often times the company continues to belabor the incident and continue on way past the expiration date.  Close the matter and share the future plans for the business and how things will be impacted.

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