Its Friday afternoon when the phone rings.
Something truly bad has happened – something that could change the face of your company.
What to do next?
Breathe deep and think through these steps:
- Gather the essential information. Gather all of the essential information. Not everything will be available right away, but more information will come in over time. Ask good questions about the who, what, where, when and why of the incident. What happened, who was impacted, where did this occur, is there a looming threat, was anyone injured, and are there other details about why this happened??
- Convene the right partners. If you have it, and you haven’t used it already, this is the time to apply your Crisis Playbook plan because now you need to think through the communications, social media, HR, operations, customer service, and other needs. Bring the leaders of those teams together to weigh in through a conference call or at a private location that everyone can meet – try to pull everyone together within the next hour.
- Share out. All of the key leaders should share an update on what they know as of that moment. That means the operations and/or field team should give an update about the known facts – and what is still unknown. The communications and/or social media person should share about whether there has been any media or social media activity yet. After the update, review each person’s role and their next steps. Capture this information in the notes and send a recap to everyone so they have a clear roadmap. Repeat this step every few hours during a major incident – or once a day for a less severe situation.
- Law enforcement. If the incident warrants police or agency involvement, reach out to identify a point of contact and open line of communication.
- Lessons Learned: After your company gets past the incident, gather the team to discuss the lessons learned and opportunities to improve while it is fresh in their minds. This is a great time to review your Crisis Playbook plan and make tailored changes wherever there were gaps. Every incident is an opportunity to practice your plan and make improvements.
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In conclusion, when faced with a crisis that could potentially impact your company, it is crucial to remain calm and approach the situation strategically. By following a few key steps, you can effectively navigate through the turmoil and mitigate the damage.
The first step is to gather all essential information related to the incident. While not everything may be available immediately, continuously seek additional details to gain a comprehensive understanding of what happened, who was affected, and the underlying causes. Asking pertinent questions about the incident will help uncover crucial information.
Next, it is vital to assemble the right partners who can contribute their expertise and insights. Activate your Crisis Playbook plan, involving leaders from various teams such as communications, social media, HR, operations, and customer service. Bringing them together, either through a conference call or a physical meeting, allows for collective decision-making and coordination of efforts.
Sharing information among key leaders is crucial for maintaining a unified response. Each team should provide updates on the known facts, including any media or social media activities, while acknowledging the unknowns. Clearly define everyone’s roles and establish a roadmap for their next steps. Regularly repeat this process to ensure everyone remains informed and aligned.
If the situation warrants it, reach out to law enforcement or relevant agencies to establish a point of contact and open a line of communication. Their involvement can provide additional resources and support in managing the crisis effectively.
Once the incident has been resolved, it is important to reflect on the experience and identify lessons learned. Gather the team and discuss opportunities for improvement while the event is still fresh in their minds. Review and update your Crisis Playbook plan to address any gaps or shortcomings identified during the incident. Treat each crisis as an opportunity to refine your response strategy and enhance preparedness for future challenges.
By following these steps and remaining proactive in your crisis management approach, you can navigate through challenging situations, protect your company’s reputation, and emerge stronger from the experience.
Remember, effective crisis management is a continuous learning process that builds resilience and ensures the long-term success of your organization.
Want to work with us or learn more about Crisis Playbook?
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- Our Ultimate Guide to Crisis Management contains everything you need to know about Crisis Management.
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