Preparing DURING The Pandemic

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    It’s not too late to get serious about coronavirus crisis management

    So you didn’t have a pandemic plan, or what you thought was a pandemic plan turned out to be more of a ‘serious-but-quick outbreak’ plan rather than something addressing the lengthy battle that the fight against COVID-19 has turned out to be. And of course now that the pandemic is in full swing it’s too late to do put together a plan that will prevent additional impact and see you work through the stages that will lead back to business as usual…right?

    If this sounds like your thought process right now, it’s time to change things up.

    Whether you were prepared in advance or not (and let’s face it, VERY few were truly prepared for this type of crisis), it’s not too late to make moves that will help save your business, protect your employees, and ensure you can deliver whatever your product may be while science works to defeat the virus itself. If you don’t have a crisis management plan that addresses what you’re doing now, that includes a list of predictable upcoming events and what you’ll do to handle them, and which includes specifics of when and how you’ll stay in communication with important audiences both internal and external, it needs to be a top priority. There’s no sugarcoating that advice. If you do not plan then you are preparing to fail, period.

    Information is power, and the good news is that we have significantly more data on what COVID-19 is, how it spreads, what the impact is on our bodies, and even expert models on timelines for future big steps like safely lifting stay at home orders. We also have the benefit of living in an age where technology makes it possible to collaborate at a distance, communicate from the comfort of our homes, and in many cases help customers or clients with minimal or no physical interaction. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed at a time like this, but believe me when I say that putting together a plan – even an informal one – will help give you a real sense of control you may otherwise be lacking, motivate yourself, encourage your employees, and most importantly help ensure your organization is still around when we come out on the other side of this pandemic.

    [Erik Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy.]

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    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management