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Crisis planning for businesses 26 Aug

Making things right when the unexpected happens

Decision-making is a key part of our lives and professional pursuits, however, at times, even the best decisions yield the wrong results. While repairing relationships in our personal lives are quite different from managing crises in business, there are some similarities.

In a recent article titled “Apology 101: Make things rightby John Baldoni, eliminating excuses and acknowledging the wrong is the first step. Accepting the consequences and making amends complete his three elements of a good apology. According to Baldoni, discussing what was done to avoid the mistake may be the truth, but to those suffering, it offers no solace.

When you find yourself in the hot seat and need to make things right when the unexpected happens, remember the origin of success is simplicity. According to Dan Rockwell’s recent article titled “The 5 Best Four-Letter Words Leaders Can Practice Today, fools make simple things complicated which can lead to failure in four ways:

    1. Complexity brings confusion
    2. Confusion leads to anxiety
    3. Anxiety leads to insecurity
    4. Insecurity creates stagnation
To mitigate the risk of failure, Rockwell identified five ways leaders can positively motivate their teams, including, kindness, togetherness, and hopefulness among others.

Business Application:
In business, making amends may seem more complicated than in our personal and professional lives, however, some things remain consistent.

Seasoned public relations (PR) professionals must take complicated situations and make sense of the key issues to allow the world to better understand the why and how behind what is going on. To achieve this while protecting a company’s brand, PR pros need to tell it all, tell it fast, and tell the truth. Here are four immediate steps PR pros should take to manage complex crises and get ahead of the story:

  1. Plan proactively: Brainstorm on possible crisis scenarios and disasters that may impact your company and create plans for how to manage them immediately.

  2. Types of crises: Identify different types of potential crises and brainstorm on potential responses needed to meet the varying levels of issues you may face. Not all crises are the same and what works for one will not work for them all.

  3. Prepare communications plans: News travels fast and if unprepared, multiple media inquiries can slow down your response. Your plan should include how to get your story out to staff, supporters, and investors and identify who the company’s spokesperson will be. Additional things to consider are setting up a media contact to take in inquiries, who will draft statements and press materials, and where a press conference can be held.

  4. Media train: Even if you can’t say much, be ready to share what you can. Make media training a regular part of your management training for senior executives so they can respond with the appropriate tone, empathy, and concern for the situation at hand.

If you need of assistance in managing a current crisis or preparing for potential issues, please contact us at Harrison Communications Company to evaluate solutions to your needs below.

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