Crisis management: 7 tips to avoid surprises

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Much of crisis management is actually to manage the element of surprise... Reduce those to the maximum so you’d better see if you face - or not - a real crisis. Here are 7 tips to achieve it.

1. IT DOES NOT ONLY HAPPEN TO OTHERS

Think about it... Can a delivery error start a crisis? Is your work environment really safe? Whom do you depend most on for the conduct of your business? Now, take all the ideas "that will never happen" and reconsider them again. Just to see.


2. WHO'S THE BOSS?

We often put crisis management in the hands of the boss. Whoops! And what are we going to do if he/she is not there? Make sure that in a crisis, all company members are turning to the right person and that person is able to assume the required leadership.

 

3. WHERE TO START? PLAN THE FIRST 2 STEPS

Unless your company use chemical or radioactive products, many small businesses only need to plan these first two steps:

• Implement a chain of command (who must be notified first);

• Reallocate resources (the organization must be able to pursue its operations).

Thus, the company can take the decisions needed to operate and to manage the crisis, both at the same time.


4. MAKE SURE THERE IS INTERNAL COHESION

An effective response requires a minimum of internal cohesion. It starts with informing employees and partners, who may even be of great help to manage the crisis. If you have a crisis management team, it should take its decisions by mutual agreement, even if this means spending precious minutes to achieve that. There is no external success without internal cohesion.


5. TALK TO THE MEDIA WHEN YOU'RE READY

Many situations do not require that the company address the medias. But when necessary, you have to be sufficiently prepared. Before returning a call from a journalist, make sure you carefully crafted the messages you want to transmit and then choose the best person to do it. Even in crisis time, there is no room for improvisation! It is better to miss the next newscast than being part of it by our own fault!


6. DO YOU MAKE THE CRISIS LAST?

Here are some of the most effective ways to make a crisis last: sue in court, issue a press release a day too late, disseminate a revenge open letter, accept a media interview then postpone it the next week, etc. Be vigilant and call public relations specialists to support you in the decision process. Do not lose sight of your goal: to put an end the crisis quickly.


7. LUCKY YOU! AN “OPPORTUNITY” !

As strange as it sounds, you may find that your crisis contains an opportunity. Isn’t it a good time to reconnect with your previous clients? With a little creativity, you might even win big...


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Mélisande Bodiguel