The Inside Word
In a crisis, prepare for the worst, and climb down from there
During a crisis the world is turned upside down and normal rules don’t apply. This means forgetting about potential scoffs from your colleagues and taking the following advice:
Executive teams can be competitive environments. Executives often need to play it cool while getting down and dirty in the face of sometimes open hostility as they scrap for resources for their teams. You don’t want anyone scoffing at your statements at an ELT budget meeting.
But if ever there was an occasion to throw caution to the wind and risk the ridicule of the eye-rollers, it’s during a crisis scenario, either real or in training.
During a crisis the world is turned upside down and normal rules don’t apply. This means forgetting about potential scoffs from colleagues by taking the following advice.
As you sort through the fog of the incident, a crisis communications professional is going to tell you to prepare for the worst, so you are prepared for anything.
It’s far preferrable – and far safer for your business’s reputation – to de-escalate than to play catch-up as things escalate, often at a giddying speed.
A comms professional will advise you to take the worst-case scenario and contact your important stakeholders as soon as possible. You need to open up a clear line of communication and, in terms of media management, see if you can find out what their public-facing communication plan is likely to look like.
If possible, you may want to ask this important stakeholder, often a regulatory body, what they are going to be likely to say to journalists and when.
Will they advise you when they are contacted by media?
Should you advise them when you are?
Do you need to advise this body what your plans are in case you are contacted by media?
Having these conversations early with an important stakeholder shows you are taking the event extremely seriously, that you are well down the planning track and it might also help to create a sense of openness and trust between you and your stakeholder. Often it can open up further conversations that shed important light on your next steps. From here, you can further develop your plan as events unfold – rapidly.
Hopefully, the above advice is something that you never have to heed. If not, we’re here to help.