Crisis Management – The First Steps

No organisation is immune to crises. Too often we see a lack of preparation, incomplete response plans, or incident management checklists that are left to gather dust.

While you can't always accurately predict when an incident will occur, there are certain steps that you can take to ensure when you're presented with a crisis, you're ready. Incidents don't go away on their own, so taking the necessary steps will mitigate damage and help your company recover quicker. 

Start To Prepare

The first step is anticipating the crisis. You need to be effectively prepared to deal with any forthcoming problems. Have a conversation with your team and note down all the crises that could arise in your organisation. You'll often find ways to mitigate potential crisis by altering existing processes and making slight adjustments to your day-to-day operations. Once you feel satisfied with your assessment, you can start to formulate a calculated plan of response. This can then be rolled out across your business. 

Set Out A Plan

Start by setting clear, concise objectives. From there, you can begin strategising a response plan that’s tailored to your organisation's specific requirements. You should prepare an operational and communicative strategy to figure out what actions to take and what you are going to say both internally and externally. To ensure your plan is effective, you'll need to test it. Give your staff training in dealing with the media, test your notification and alerting routines, and keep improving your efficiency until you're confident.

Discover a practical approach to contingency planning structure and content –  download our free guide. 

Assemble a Crisis Management Team 

Having an informed, capable, and cohesive management team, will ensure you're well-equipped to deal with a crisis quickly. Your team should be made up of senior staff, PR and legal counsels, and anyone else that may be useful. This is also a chance to identify a spokesperson for your business. They'll be responsible for informing your staff and liaising with the media, ensuring your company has one consistent message. Once your team is assembled, it becomes much easier to share information, implement your contingency plan, and successfully resolve the crisis.

Streamline Communication

Communication during a crisis is essential for maintaining confidence and trust in your business. It's important you and your team are as clear and as open as possible. Take a honest approach, giving out all the details you can as they become available. Clarify who is involved, what's being done to fix the situation, and when you can expect a resolution. Make sure everyone at your organisation is aware of what's happening, so you can mitigate any leaks of false or misinterpreted information. Slowly, confidence will build and you'll be in control of the situation. 

Each of these steps are essential and must be implemented into your crisis management plan. Adjust, improve, and test them thoroughly to ensure you're prepared for any eventuality.

Effective preparation gives you and your team a better chance of making the right decisions when it matters most. Write your contingency plan today and ensure your team are well-equipped to deal with any issues they may face.

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By Andrew Carvell

Andy is the Managing Director of One Voice’s international business, based in London and has worked with incident and crisis management solutions since 2010. He has a particular focus on the aviation and energy sectors and works closely with One Voice’s partner Control Risks to broaden the service offering of both parties. Andy has a degree in law from the University of Nottingham and outside of work, enjoys rugby, golf and outdoor pursuits.

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