Manage a crisis AND run a business? Are you ready?
When a major crisis hits, it can feel like the bottom just fell out of your whole organization. Energy is focused on response and recovery, communication and crisis management, and it can be easy to set daily duties aside. While obviously you have to assign considerable assets to handling the situation, it’s too easy to forget that you still have stakeholders, customers, and employees who expect your business to continue operating. What are you to do, and why should you care about business as usual in the midst of a crisis situation? Check out this quote from a PR Studio Boston blog post:
Don’t stop moving FORWARD!
This is the “one size fits all” tactic in a crisis. Do not let a crisis consume every aspect of your public relations. Even if it is a major crisis and you are consumed, designate someone on the PR team who is the ‘business as usual’ person. Don’t stop issuing information on positive happenings just because you are inundated. Bad news is contagious and once you are in a crisis you will be subject to a pig pile mentality. The only way to get out from under is to keep moving forward with the other aspects of your organization. Even if reporters do not want to hear about anything other than the crisis, too bad… it is your job to keep telling them any way and to try like heck to break the chain. If you allow the crisis to define your organization then it will.
Yes, you should still put more than enough resources into your crisis management team to handle the job, but keep the business machine running in the meantime. Of course, the level at which you’re able to do this depends on the size of your organization, along with your available resources, but even one-man operations should be able to some extent. If you’ve got to dip into your pocket to hire on a temporary receptionist, or keep legal counsel on call for a week or two, then spend the money. The ability to maintain through adversity will inspire trust from stakeholders, and keep the money coming in.
For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management
[Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. , an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]