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The worst crisis a company can create for itself is not knowing what to do in the midst of an emergency. Chicken Little was cute as a cartoon, but for the real world, not so much.

So here are my six simple steps for a easy-to-use crisis plan

1.System for initial alerts - When something significant happens within your organization there needs to be a system to alert key decision-makers. Create a call tree with easy steps on who to call and make sure all employees know about the system. Wallet cards are a great way to keep these numbers close at hand.

2.Team for evaluating response - Who in your company needs to be involved in times of an emergency? Designate a small, manageable crisis team that has the authority to make and carry out decisions. The team should have the breadth to provide sound counsel to leadership but be small enough to be effective. Establish roles and responsibilities for each member.

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3.Communicating with employees - Establish a primary and back up system for contacting employees about the situation. They may need directions on where to report, how to respond (or not respond) to media queries, or what special actions they should take to help return the situation to normalcy. You may also need a system that employees can use to alert the company that they are okay. Designate someone to brief company leadership.

4.Communicating with the public - Who your public is depends, to some degree, on your type of business and the nature of the emergency. Usually, the media is a primary audience. Others may include investors, near neighbors, law enforcement, vendors, clients or even the families of employees. Determine, in advance, the primary methods in which you will communicate with theses groups. Establish some target timetable for alerting these entities. Staying ahead of the story and managing expectations about the frequency of information is important.

5.Sample of potential statements - You know best what types of emergencies are likely to befall your organization. Take an hour out of your day and brainstorm what they might be. Maybe it's as simple as what actions need to be taken if your companys normal activities are disrupted by a loss of utilities (power/phone/etc.) and must close. Are there natural disasters that could affect your business? What about manmade ones, such as a disgruntled employee or a disgruntled customer? Do you have a system for communicating about a sudden change in executive leadership? Once you've listed the primary events, take a half-day to draft some templates for potential initial statements. When the world seems to be falling down around your ears, these can provide sane guidelines for developing your response.

6.Practice - Once a year, at a minimum, review the plan and update it business situations dictate. Schedule a meeting at the same time for the crisis team to have a brief table top review to refresh itself on roles and responsibilities.

There, that wasn't so hard. Do it before the unthinkable happens. Thats the worst time to actually put your thinking cap on for the first time.

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Posted in Publishing and Printing Post Date 05/25/2020


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