One of the comments, that my last post regarding the crisis management during the Hurricane Katrina and the forest fires in Greece generated, was the following: «quite interesting post but nothing new or deep». I couldn’t agree more! The conclusions and the lessons learned that were mentioned are not groundbreaking at all. That was intentional. I strongly believe that when we examine cases of crisis management we must always go back to basics.
How many times haven’t we seen violation of basic rules of crisis communications by respectable companies with global footprint and long tradition in their sector?
Half way to success in crisis management is preparedness. Every time we see an organization to be taken by surprise we realize that preparedness is not self-evident. Preparedness requires commitment, planning, leadership, a qualified communications team and so on. Crisis management always starts before a crisis occurs and this is the basis in order to have successful results.
One common mistake is the delayed response to a crisis. If we don’t express our position on time, someone else will tell our story for us. We all know the importance of a quick response to media queries but sometimes we forget that the citizen journalism and social networks move faster than traditional media.
An organization builds its credibility on transparency. Denying responsibility when an organization has evidently made a mistake will undermine the credibility and eventually damage the reputation. When the public finds out about the trickeries, the consequences in the era of social media might be irreversible.
Finally, when we deal with crisis management, the biggest risk is «commoditization». If we sit back and rest on our laurels we will definitely fail. Crisis management is like the myth of Sisyphus, we should continue rolling the stone from the bottom of the mountain to the top, despite all events to the contrary.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and they do not reflect in any way those of his various affiliations.
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