Crisis Management

The Crisis Plan

Planning in advance of a crisis may be the prime determiner as to the depth and cost to a company's reputation and bottom line. Once an event occurs, there is no time for a considered thoughtful approach.
  1. Start with an Approach
    The crisis plan begins with a corporate statement outlining the company's crisis management approach, providing a decision base and behavior path for all action. The statement will summarize the company's philosophies and ethics, and delineate what the company plans to "protect"

  2. Build a Strong Reputation
    An organization with a solid reputation will survive a crisis better than one without. A company's initial approach to the crisis will be strongly influenced by its perception of your historical behavior.

  3. Create a Crisis Team
    Place someone in charge of the crisis team - usually a member of top management who can step away from their daily duties and assume control of the crisis team. Candidates for the team include:
    • Corporate communications
    • Legal
    • Human Resources
    • Medical
    • Research
    • Safety
    • Transportation

  4. Establish a Crisis Center
    This can be an established conference room, preferably one that is already wired and equipped for these communications technologies:
    • Preinstalled jacks for phone lines
    • Computers with modems to access databases
    • Faxes, video conferencing, and VCRs
    • Satellite television and radio

  5. Prepare Materials in Advance
    The crisis team should ask themselves, "If something bad happened today, what would I need to respond immediately". Have in advance:
    • A press response ready stating your knowledge of the crisis if you have adequate amount of information.
    • Your best answer and information about the crisis.
    • Some generic but positive information about the company that has some bearing on the crisis.

* The four most important questions in formulating a crisis plan are:
  1. What are the potential threats to your company?
  2. Can you plan for every eventuality?
  3. What is your plan trying to protect?
  4. Do you need a plan, or just a good preparation?

* The crisis plan above has been created from information from both the Hendrix and Caywood books.