Top 3 Steps to Crisis Management

Have you ever had a crisis in business? What did you do? How did you manage the crisis? A crisis is defined by dictionary. com as, “a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, esp. for better or for worse, is determined; turning point.” If not managed correctly, a crisis can spiral out of control and have everlasting consequences for your business. For example the response by FEMA to the residents of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. For years after the response, FEMA was looked upon in a negative light.

Now review your business. Are you prepared to handle a crisis which may generate media attention? Your business needs to have solid plans in place as to not have a public relations nightmare. As a former leader of an organization, I will provide you a comprehensive look at crisis management and what to remember first.

Crisis Management Plan

Depending on your business type, you will need an all inclusive plan. Consider natural disasters, power outages, fires, or acts of violence to name a few. Each instance should not overlap, but be individual. Details needed are: who will be involved, their role/responsibility, important phone numbers, and the layout of your business. Exit routes and a list of your employees will need to be included. Once you have created your crisis management plan, you will need to communicate to all associated parties, which in this case would be all of your employees.

Your Reaction

In times of crisis you will need one emotion, calmness. You as the leader of the organization will be looked upon to take control of the situation as swift as possible. If your emotional state changes, chaos is eminent to follow. A tip to remaining calm is to live and breathe your crisis management plan. You should recreate a crisis situation monthly to remain engaged in the process. Another tip to remaining calm is to delegate selected tasks to your management team/subordinates. You will have a tendency to get flustered if all of the responsibility falls in your lap.

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Media Relations

During a crisis one thing is certain, media attention will follow. So what do you do to prepare for media inquiries? One of the worst possible statements is,”no comment.” Media outlets can view this as a potential cover-up. A more appropriate answer would be, “we are continuing to review the situation and will inform the media with any updates.” The purpose of the second answer is to inform the media an investigation is underway and allows you to concentrate on problem resolution.

Crisis management is crucial in the viability of any business. Without a leader who can remain calm under pressure, the crisis will spiral out of control.

For more information on planning, read: Does Your Business Meet OSHA Safety Guidelines?

For more information on delegating, read: Delegating to Secure Time Management: Business Success Tactics