Having worked for over thirty years in risk management we thought we would share our top ten tips for crisis management teams. Most of these, if not all of them, have come about through personal experience in putting together and dealing with a crisis for firms ranging from ‘magic circle law firms’ through to global investment banks with a high end luxury retailer thrown in for good measure. All have approached crisis management in slightly different ways (cultures) but all of the tips below were pertinent at some stage.
Always Plan for the best and worst possible scenarios: That way, you will be well prepared for any unforeseen event that may come your way.
Communicate your plan to those who need to know: Sounds like common sense but if the right players do not know what is expected from them then managing a crisis becomes a lot harder.
Have the right people making up the crisis management team (CMT): Do not always think the most senior person should be on the team. Have subject matter experts (SMEs) who are able to offer the required information and at the same time make a decision.
A well trained and prepared team will be inoculated to such an event if they know what to expect and get the business moving more quickly.
Have deputies: There is nothing worse than core members of your CMT being away and no one ready to step up. Make sure they have been involved in an exercise as well.
if the crisis is of such a size and scale that it receives media coverage phone home and let your loved ones know you are o.k. Furthermore get them to phone immediate relatives to let them know. This alleviates incoming calls and allows your team to focus on the crisis.
Have prepared drafted templates and messages to:
Take it from us, you do not want to be putting these together whilst a crisis is ongoing, have prepared templates that have been, at least in principle, signed off by the board.
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that you may do things differently. – Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
SUCCESS comes only before WORK in the dictionary: to have a successful outcome of a crisis requires work and preparations prior to it. This will not only save time and energy but money.