I was recently asked what the first step in successful crisis management is, and I thought what a great question! Over the years, I’ve heard different answers to this question. Some people say “get the plan out!”, while others say “activate the crisis team”. But in my experience, both of these answers just don’t go far enough.
In this week’s #crisisready video, I discuss what the first step in successful crisis management really looks like. Take a look!
I’d love to hear what you think!
Comment below or use the hashtag #crisisready on Twitter and let’s continue this conversation.
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.
Bridget Fitzpatrick says
As I was listening to this video I thought about our upper management and how many times it can feel as if they bog things down. Do you think it’s possible to bring the stakeholders to the table in order to gain their insight and wisdom but still move forward with a plan without needing there approval? Many times those who are not hands on dealing with a crisis, don’t understand how quickly you need to move to try to get and stay ahead of the crisis. Their perspective can be very helpful to get a well rounded idea of the problem, but their lack of understanding crisis management can slow things down to the point of paralyzing any forward movement.
Melissa Agnes says
Hi Bridget, I hear you. And while the response to your question is very case-specific, I’d say that, in general terms, an organization (or agency) needs leadership’s buy-in of the strategy and response to the crisis for it to be truly effective, ongoing and to not cause an internal crisis within the organization.
However, if I’ve misunderstood your question and you’re asking that – if leadership understands the realities and some others on the team don’t, then do you need their buy-in to move forward? In this case, leadership has the power to overrule (in most cases), but I’d still caution that this could potentially lead to an inconsistent response, as well as internal struggles as a result.
Getting ahead of this issue requires education and training. I strongly recommend that, if you foresee this being a struggle, then this issue should be flagged prior to experiencing a crisis and steps should be taken to overcome these internal struggles. This can be done in a number of ways and is often a process, rather than a “quick fix”. But it’s well worth the effort.
Burhan Kent says
Hi, as I listened to your presentation in the video, I didn’t hear you mention a Public Relations practitioner as one of the important people selected for the crisis management. Should I assume that PRP mustn’t be among the selected important individuals entailed to manage the crisis?
Melissa Agnes says
Absolutely not. Please don’t make that assumption. I mentioned department heads in the video, which means all relevant department heads including PR / communications. I couldn’t list every single representative or important crisis management team member, as a) that list would be too long for a short video and b) every organization is structured differently.
Thanks for reaching out and asking this important question.
Shawn Gossman says
Good Morning Melissa,
I’d like to congratulate and thank you for this great blog post. I feel like your statement of having the right people involved is very true. Emergencies and crises required skilled folks to be involved in all phases of managing them. This is where we look to the subject matter experts of our organizations. And we need to make sure that we’re not looking at titles or degrees that these potential candidates have acquired. We need to be looking at their experience. At this time, I work in manufacturing. The facility in which I work at could easily face various different types of disasters based on my own personal vulnerability and threat identification analysis. In my opinion, to effectively create a disaster management plan for the factory – multiple people would need to be involved in the process including management, safety department officials, supervisors, union officials and even skilled workers within each department of the facility. The skilled workers are really going to be the main form of intelligence gathering for the plan because these workers are the ‘boots on the ground’ folks in these departments – they’ve seen what could be dangerous and they know and understand the environment in which they work in. So your post and video goes a long way with that observation. Good job and I look forward to continuing to read your blog and watch your videos. 🙂
Melissa Agnes says
You’re correct. These people should all have a part in helping to develop the organization’s crisis preparedness program. Glad to hear the video provided you with useful food for thought!
You may also find this post I wrote to be helpful: http://melissaagnes.com/how-to-develop-a-strong-and-practical-crisis-management-governance-model/