Crisis Management Strategies: What It Is And How To Develop One
Have you ever imagined how your company or business will respond to an emergency or disaster? No? Then, the answer is to develop a sound crisis management plan. Business crises can come in many different forms. It isn't possible to create a comprehensive plan for every single type of situation that may arise, but here are a few things that you can do to keep your business and its people taking positive actions during a crisis.
Create a Crisis Management Team
Put together a team of people from your company including members with different levels of authority, from various locations, product lines, and departments for your Crisis Management Team. Also, include people like an IT leader or CIO, a public relations communication expert, your Sales Director and your Customer Service Manager. Gather them all together and brainstorm about the potential crises your company may face. Once you get the list, prioritize those incidents to identify the most likely to actually occur and start planning.
Take Strategic Actions
To support your business crisis management strategy, you need to identify your gaps and weaknesses. Once identified, address gap or weakness and work on improving these areas. Invest in your emergency cash reserve or build a new relationship with backup suppliers and open lines of communication. Moreover, before a crisis strikes, it’s particularly essential to ensure that your stakeholder relationships, finances, and organizational reputation are in good shape.
Communication is one significant area of failure by leaders during a crisis in any organization. So, consider breaking down the communication silos, create a phone tree and share with everyone so that a process is in place when the need arises. Some companies, such as Nokia, Enron, and British Petroleum had issues during emergencies because of the poor flow of information within each organization. By engaging your staff in the communication process, you’re promoting a culture of open dialogue and aligning communication with your company’s strategy. Moreover, your executives and managers get closer to other employees and work actively with them.
Maintain Social Responsibility
If your company has not invested in social affairs or publicity before a crisis, in the worst-case scenario your customers and partners will ignore your apologies because, after a crisis, any public expressions of concern will appear phony. Thus, transform your values and culture into real-world actions, showcase what kind of company you have by mentoring minority entrepreneurs, promote employee volunteer opportunities for nonprofit organizations, and local schools. A regular outreach program can make the public believe your crisis response is genuine when it happens.
Plan On Adjusting Many Unknowns
A crisis management plan is made to cover many unknown occurrences. Thus, as a business owner, you need to evaluate critical infrastructure needs and people and process impacts. Remember that you can’t plan for everything, but yes, a good plan includes monitoring how the crisis itself shifts your company’s business operations and revising your management plan as critical details are uncovered. You must plan how your company will adapt to a myriad of unknowns, as well as the actions to be taken in response.
Apart from these strategies, four main influences shape crisis management strategies – cultural, institutional, behavioral, and environmental. But remember that the best crisis management strategy is prevention.