It’s the new year and time for New Year’s resolutions. If you deal with organizational crises in any way, or are involved with Business Continuity Management, here are 8 resolutions that will lead to more effective crisis management. They’ll also help protect your organization’s reputation.
These resolutions were inspired by a blog post by Helio Fred Garcia of the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership.
1. Listen to warnings. When employees bring a serious issue to management, they’re sometimes reprimanded. Always be willing to listen. Your employees might see a looming crisis when management is unaware of it.
2. Don’t deny that a problem exists. You’ll lull yourself into a false sense of security, or worse, fail to act at all. When an issue is public, you’ll usually want to confirm there is a problem; don’t lie.
3. Admit when the problem is serious. Don’t attempt to minimize the problem. Be careful about saying “it’s nothing; we can take care it.” Even if it is a small issue, it’s “something”.
4. Tell the truth—be frank. When telling the truth doesn’t bring about the desired results, don’t result to misinformation. Half-truths only lead to more problems. And when the misinformation is exposed, your organization gets a black eye.
5. Reveal the magnitude of the problem. When organizations reveal critical facts in bits and pieces, but never reveal the total issue, journalists will dig to learn the truth. When there is a vacuum of information, something will fill the void—usually wrong information.
6. Accept the blame. Don’t blame someone else. Even if someone else is partially to blame, own up to your part of the responsibility.
7. Don’t reveal unnecessary negative facts. You can tell the truth and reveal the magnitude of the problem without revealing additional negative information that would reflect badly on your organization. For instance, making reference to a prior instance of a similar crisis.
8. React swiftly. Fear can sometimes cause executives to defer action. Don’t let fear prevent you from acting. The first 24-48 hours of a public crisis are critical; that’s often when rumors begin to spread. Act decisively and you can often counter the misinformation.