The Crisis Plan Covers Day 1
Most corporations, institutions or associations have a crisis plan. This serves as an organizing principle and sets out priority actions – especially for the first few hours of a crisis and certainly assists over the course of the first day. Many crisis situations resolve themselves in 24 hours. But if they don’t and there is prolongued interest in your situation, there are a few short guidelines that can assist you.
1) Be driven by your values: corporate values are there for a reason, to drive decision making in good times and bad times. Use your values as a guide to make decisions. The Mission, Vision and Values poster hanging in your office is meaningless until you actively live by them.
2) Act in the best interest of others: if you make a product consumed or used by people, act in the best interest for the safety and well being of others – always. You’re either driving safety or you’re not. Consumers instantly interpret your priorities.
3) Control the agenda: if it is your crisis, don’t be a bystander. Seek to own the agenda. You can do that by making good decisions, communicating your actions, having strong messages, responding more frequently than other parties, using your social media channels and having a visible and effective spokesperson. Proactively identify, build and prepare these channels.
4) Make BIG decisions: Don’t make small incremental decisions. Make the right decisions from the beginning. Remember other parties such as regulators, fire, police, and government will try and make decisions for you, so best to own your agenda and the decisions. If you do not lead, you will quickly learn to follow.