When the integrity and image of your organization are at risk, executing a calculated and rehearsed crisis management plan can lessen or dodge potential damage. It is pertinent to have an established crisis management team, a designated spokesperson armed with key message points and a precise plan.
Every organization is susceptible to a business crisis. Remove the notion that crises do not affect your industry or that your organization is immune. Build a comprehensive plan to prevent a crisis from developing into a catastrophe.
Create a work environment where problem areas are identified, solutions are implemented and communication is fostered between employees and senior management. Preparedness will reduce the amount of damage your organization may endure during the time of a crisis.
Each dilemma will have its own specific set of obstacles. Have a team in place to respond to a crisis when it arises. Comprise the team of senior executives, the organization’s public relations firm, and legal counsel. Designate one of the members of this team as the primary spokesperson so that messaging is concise and consistent.
Now that the crisis team has been formed, put it to the test. All levels of employees, from senior management to the operations staff, will need to know what to do in a crisis. Conduct a yearly analysis to determine what areas of your organization are vulnerable to crises. Then, put into action crisis scenarios to gauge the effectiveness of your team and address weaknesses in the plans where needed.
With a crisis at hand, you will benefit from your groundwork. Gather as much information as swiftly as you can and identify which of your organization’s publics are to be affected. These steps are crucial to establish the key speaking points for the designated company spokesperson.
Once your key messaging is established, it is enormously imperative to respond in a timely fashion to a crisis. Acting quickly and delivering a small number of core messages highlights your organization as being in control of the situation.
Take the online video that plagued Domino’s Pizza in mid April, 2009 for example (read New York Time’s article Video Prank at Domino’s Taints Brand). The video featured two Domino’s employees violating food and was uploaded to YouTube. The video became viral and was seen by millions in just a little over a day, before being pulled.
Domino’s Pizza exemplified effective crisis management. The employees were, without delay, fired and warrants were issued for their arrests. Instant action was taken showing that Domino’s Pizza was in control and actively seeking out solutions.
The very next day, Domino’s utilized the same medium as the damaging video. In the video Patrick Doyle, the president of Domino’s USA, apologizes for the incident and thanks the public for bringing the issue to their immediate attention. Doyle also assures that the store where the food violations were filmed is being completely sanitized.
The quick and calculated actions taken by Domino’s demonstrates how preparation, swift action, concise messaging from designated spokespeople and executing a solution can lessen the harm a crisis can do.
Recommended Readings on How to Manage a Business Crisis:
- How to Avoid Business Crisis
- Nine Lessons for Turning Crisis into Triumph
- Breaking Chain Of Mistakes Prevents Business Disasters
- How to Avoid Catastrophe in Your Business
Recommended Books on Crisis Management:
- Crisis Management: Mastering the Skills to Prevent Disasters (Harvard Business Essentials)
- Crisis Management: Planning for the Inevitable
- Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company
- Crisis Leadership Now: A Real-World Guide to Preparing for Threats, Disaster, Sabotage, and Scandal
Original Publication Date: November 5, 2009
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