Proper prep is the #1 way to reduce the impact of crises on your operations
There are many parallels that can be drawn between crisis management and sports. In a blog post today on The Buzz Bin, Jeff Wilson, APR, offered up the following great example when he discussed crisis management tips learned from March Madness:
Prepare for the Opposition. All great coaches know that in order to beat your opponent, you must prepare for your opponent. The same holds true in crisis management. Organizations should conduct crisis audits to identify all the crises they could face and prepare for them accordingly. Unfortunately, far too many organizations neglect crisis planning in favor of other initiatives. While it can take years to build a reputation, it only takes a few minutes to destroy one. You should never be caught without a good playbook during a crisis.
In crisis management, the crisis is your opposition. Of course there may be other individuals or organizations who are helping the crisis along, but it’s important to remember that your ultimate goal is to stop the crisis from doing harm to stakeholders and your reputation and, even when you can’t block harm completely, to minimize the damage.
Coaches have plays for predictable situations, rare, yet possible situations, generic types of situations like “low clock and down points,” even a few pages of tricky plans for those times that their opponents seem to constantly be one step ahead, and your crisis management plans should follow that same pattern.
Operating a business in California? Better include earthquakes under that predictable section. Situations like “power failures” would land under the generic, while “employee criminal record exposed” is a great candidate for the rare, yet possible.
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The advantage of preparation
Is it impossible to win without prior planning? Honestly, no, we encounter clients on a regular basis who have done literally zero crisis planning. Here’s the real question though – is it FAR more difficult and risky, not to mention much more expensive, to do so? Absolutely.
Bottom line is, it pays to think ahead. Invest in crisis planning, and when it comes time for your big game, sit secure in the knowledge that you’re well positioned and ready to do battle.