How To Plan For A Crisis

Any organisation, no matter it's size or field needs to be prepared for a crisis. With some foresight, not only can disasters be avoided, but managing your way out of a difficult situation is possible. The key is to minimise the damage to your reputation and finances.

The first step is for your organisation to be committed to a proactive rather than reactive stance. Crisis management means looking at prevention, planning, training and formulating a response.

To do this you need a plan that's capable of being used from day one - not just when you think trouble is brewing. Firstly it should provide an overview of all possible risks and potential crises. For each of these there should be an agreed response. The plan must involve all levels of the organisation and needs to be flexible so that courses of action can be adapted to any situation.

Having a plan to follow means all staff will know what to be responsible for during what could be a highly stressed situation. Training is important because it will help them stay calm and focused.

The plan will identify questions that might be asked by the public and media. It will also identifiy key messages that will convey the organisation's transparency and its reputation in a positive light.

Key to all of this is making sure everything you do is ethical. Not being above board could lead to even greater problems. A spin-off may also be stronger relationships with stakeholders down the track.

The overall goal is to manage any situation in such a way that the crisis is diffused and resolved as quickly as possible.

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