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Awaiting Crises

Author: Juris PÄ“tersons
04/04/2018

You will be hit by a crisis. It’s not known when exactly or how, but clear as day, it will happen. Amongst our clients I know none who have evaded smaller or larger complications in their routines each time.

Crises will vary, but I’ve found one of the most comprehensive ways to organize them (so you do not miss the major symptoms or the start of one), in a book called Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management (Bernstein, Jonathan (Briefcase Books Series). McGraw-Hill Education):

Creeping Crises 

  • Lack of a rumor-control system, resulting in damaging rumors
  • Inadequate preparation for partial or complete business interruption
  • Inadequate steps to protect life and property in the event of emergencies
  • Inadequate two-way communication with all audiences, internal and external

Slow-burn Crises 

  • Internet activism
  • Most lawsuits
  • Most discrimination complaints
  • Company reputation
  • Lack of regulatory compliance—safety, immigration, environment, hiring, permits, etc. 
  • Major operational decisions that may distress any important audience, internal or external
  • Local/state/national governmental actions that negatively impact operations 
  • Official/governmental investigations
  • Labor unrest 
  • Sudden management changes—voluntary or involuntary 
  • Marketing misrepresentation

Sudden Crises

  • Customer trauma 
  • Customer protests and complaints 
  • Serious on-site accident 
  • Criminal activity at a company site and/or committed by company employees 
  • Lawsuits with no advance notice or clue whatsoever 
  • Natural disasters 
  • Loss of workplace/business interruption (for any reason) 
  • Fires
  • Perceptions of significant impropriety that damage reputation and/or result in legal liability; business activities not officially authorized by management, threat to society. 

Before I started writing I was not under the impression there’d be so many to contemplate and to prepare for. Good news is – timely preparations will minimize losses, that will inevitably occur during and after a crisis. Some research shows that for every $1 invested in crisis management—prevention, training, or response—an organization avoids $7 in losses. To put it straight – it's worth investing in crisis preparation if company value is of your concern.

More, on the most important aspects of crisis preparation, on distinguishing between crisis management and crisis communication, in the next blog posts to come.

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