By nature, most people avoid planning for crisis situations. After all, there is so much to do in the here and now without trying to second guess the future. Business leaders are no exception when it comes to the often thankless task of corporate crisis management planning. Unfortunately, disaster can strike any company, at any time. It’s always important to remember that no matter what type of crisis you may face, the technology is in place to make the news public within minutes. Is your company prepared?
Learning From These Crisis Management Examples: Six steps to successfully managing your business through a crisis
Being prepared in the face of a crisis is essential to securing a successful outcome for your business. With no plan in place, your leadership team will inevitably be tasked with the responsibility of making critical decisions about your company’s future under extreme stress and often, without all the facts.
- Ensure Strong Leadership. Strong, highly visible corporate leaders build strong corporate cultures, rich in values. These values will not only serve as a foundation for your crisis planning initiative, but, in the face of a crisis, they will determine how well your company responds. A sound, value-based response is far more likely to be favorably received. You should also ensure your business has an emergency succession plan in place at all times.
- Assemble a Crisis Management Team. This should include individuals from multiple disciplines within your organization, to develop your corporate crisis management plan. Legal, financial and public relations executives, for example, often have differing viewpoints, yet a compromise resulting from these differing points of view should be represented in the final plan.
- Develop a Crisis Management Plan. As previously alluded to, your crisis management plan should be rooted in the philosophy and values of your organization. Key to the process of developing this plan is generating a list of all the potential catastrophes that your company could face. Crisis plans should then be developed to detail the exact response needed for each possible situation. In fact, the more details you include, the less chaos will ensue when a catastrophe does occur.
- Train your Employees. This step is essential. As they engage in their daily activities, they should have the training and background required to not only perform their jobs, but to identify potential issues. They should also be empowered to bring issues to the attention of senior personnel. Analysis and a corrective course of action early on often keep crisis situations from arising. In addition, your employees should receive training and be familiar with crisis management examples such that they have a thorough understanding of their role in the face of a disaster.
- Communicate Timely and Consistently. Your company’s brand is directly dependent on timely communications with internal and external stakeholders, beginning with problem acknowledgment and ending with air-tight solutions. Message consistency is also key—differing messages damage corporate credibility. With timeliness and consistency in mind, a very thorough communications plan should be developed as part of the crisis management plan. In addition to addressing stakeholder and media concerns, it should have provisions for updates to your corporate website and social media channels as well.
- Update the Corporate Crisis Management Plan Regularly. A crisis management plan is a living document that needs to be reviewed on a regular basis for possible updates and changes.
Anticipating a crisis is a matter of strategic planning and risk management. Following the six steps to success, as outlined above, will not only prepare your company for a catastrophe, but will position your management team to better handle both the expected and the unexpected fallout. In the face of a crisis, general preparedness can go a long way to help your company emerge financially sound, and with an enhanced corporate brand.
Contact Maxwell Locke & Ritter For More Information
Our team of experienced CPAs in the greater Austin, Texas area are able to personally guide your company through these crisis management examples and develop the right solutions for you. For professional, trustworthy financial services, contact Maxwell Locke & Ritter today.