How to Create a Crisis Management Strategy
All organizations should have a crisis management policy which is at the same level of importance as the mission statement and business plan. A proper crisis management policy can rapidly restore normality and confidence for workers in the organization. It also provides a good source of PR material for the media.
The Nine Step Guide in Developing a Crisis Management Strategy
Step 1: Determine whether it is a crisis.
Determine whether it is a crisis. This question is important to ask, as there are many situations that go wrong because the right person to handle it is not around. You may be in charge of a project until your supervisor comes back and are unable to contact him during a crisis. You have to make your own decisions in his absence and your action is dependent on the level of authority given.
Step 2: See the Big Picture
See the Big Picture. It is not easy to handle a crisis if you are not aware of the all the facts. The final outcome may not be the way you envisage. If your role is a leader, you have to be detached from the emotional side of the crisis and rationally take stock of how to move on. Again, this is not as easy as it sounds as you may have longtime colleagues who are involved in this crisis.
Step 3: Gather the Relevant Team.
Gather the relevant team to put out the fire. It is important to be able to meet up with the team to discuss about the situation. This is to ensure that the team is able to analyze and make a united stand about handling this crisis. This team should also comprise of the authorities, if the crisis is serious.
Step 4: Set a Timeline.
Set a Timeline. You must construct a timeline and ensure that each process scenario is highlighted. This practice will be a check to prevent your team from spending too much time in one aspect of handling the crisis.
Step 5: Develop a Procedural Manual.
Develop a Procedural Manual. Is there an organizational situational manual that you can use for this situation? Are you able to recollect the tips that were given to you when you participated in a mock drill?
Step 6: Seek External Experts.
Seek External Experts. You should get external experts to access the situation if the crisis is totally unanticipated. However, you must have had a close-door meeting with your inner circle. This is essential, as you do not want to unnecessarily reveal confidential information to external parties.
Step 7: Speak To The Media.
Speak To The Media. It is important to prepare a press kit which provides a full detailed report about the crisis. If you are comfortable to conduct a press interview, you have to ensure that you have the full details first.
Step 8: Fine tune Your Communication Style.
Fine tune Your Communication Style. You have to ensure that your communication style is in sync with the crisis. Remember to be forthcoming with reliable information and try not to speculate. This will also ensure that the victims’ immediate families do not overly worry. It will also not help if you come across as very emotional in the media as you want to communicate that your organization has everything under control.
Step 9: Protect your reputation.
Protect your reputation. If the crisis involves the loss of lives, it is not unthinkable that your credibility and organization’s reputation is put into question. Assuming that the crisis was beyond your organization’s control, you have to stick to your best judgement and not be led into a debate that may open your organization to possible legal action.