January 9, 2012

Start Planning to Improve Crisis Management

Manager's Guide to
Crisis Management
It is a shame that most MBA programs only offer one course or a short lecture series on Crisis Management.  Surely they are aware of what has happened to so many companies over the last few years just because they did not plan properly.  Are business schools not aware of the research that shows for each $1 invested in crisis management, an organization can avoid a loss of $7?

Do you have an MBA?  Did it prepare you for a major business crisis?  Does your company even have a crisis management plan?  Are you personally trained to help create one or to implement it?  If not, then as an introduction to the concept, you may want to read the new book Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management by Jonathan Bernstein.  His book covers various aspects of crisis management including prevention, planning, training, press, communication, law, and potential cultural issues for global companies.  Below is a sample of a few tips from chapter 3 regarding crisis planning. 

Essential Components for a Crisis Plan
1.      Make it easy to reference by including both a table of contents and index.
2.      Introduce the plan with purpose statement, goals, scope, and policies.
3.      Keep documentation (minutes, actions, changes, press releases) related to the plan together.
4.      Locate Emergency Operations Center(s) and note location details.
5.      Select Team members, assign roles and responsibilities, document who does what.
  • Core team should be senior executives and select management
  • Supplemental teams may be required  if company has multiple locations
  • Alternative members should be selected in case a member of other teams is unavailable at time of crisis
  • Contact list with communication methods (email, phones, etc.)
6.      Document possible crisis scenarios, procedures to follow for each scenario and possible communications including press statements.
7.      Identify and train spokespersons from teams to speak during crisis
8.      Establish communication protocols and methods for using contact list during crisis.
9.      Plan communication for all stakeholders and audiences that may be affected by the crisis. 
10. Plan to include a “lessons learned” summary of what was done during a crisis to identify strengths and weakness for future improvements. 

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