“In preparing for battle, I have always
found that plans are useless, but
planning is indispensable.”
– Dwight David Eisenhower
President Eisenhower could well have uttered the same quote about Crisis Communications. Developing a crisis communications plan is more about planning to mobilize for a potential crisis, than it is about writing step-by-step actions for specific pre-ordained scenarios. And this is what causes so many management teams to be confused about exactly what the components of a good crisis communication plan actually are. Here are five “Crisis Plan Essentials” to consider in order to get your team ready to communicate in a crisis.
1) Identify the Crisis Team
It’s important that the right people from the appropriate functional areas of the organization are ready to respond at a moment’s notice to a crisis and understand their responsibilities as members of the team. Along with the CEO and CFO, the team should include key people from public relations, corporate communications, investor relations, human resources, public affairs, sales and marketing. Make sure that at least two members of the crisis team have been media trained. A major crisis is no time to get your feet wet in media relations.
2) Constantly Assess Your Primary Risks
Forward-thinking companies take a strategic approach to crisis communications by continuously assessing the risks associated with their businesses. The key to this effort is to establish a risk-aware culture and a process whereby employees can funnel their ideas about potential risks through management to an appointed member of the crisis communications team. For each risk, the team should assign responsibility for continuous monitoring and assessment, taking actions to mitigate risk when possible.
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