Crises aren’t always surprises. Nor is every situation a crisis; some are simply sensitive situations that can erupt into crises when poorly handled.
When it can, a company should identify and assess the potential risks to its business and have a plan in place to manage the situation as effectively as possible. The plan does not need to be a thick binder of documents for every conceivable scenario. Rather, a simple framework on how to handle a crisis – who is involved, how and where you convene – should be developed. Then, at least once a year, a dedicated simulation involving top executives and others should help prepare the organization for most eventualities.
Crises come in many forms. Factory incidents, viral explosions and plane crashes represent the most evident and unexpected events. Financial difficulties, executive issues and attacks by consumer advocates or unions are sometimes more drawn out instances of threats to a company’s image and reputation.
Today, companies can speak directly to their constituents instead of needing to use the media or other conduits that may not necessarily ensure that your message is replicated accurately or consistently.