Few of us anticipate facing a public crisis in our organization. We tend to equate a crisis with bad management which is not always the case.
Bad things do happen and we must be prepared to deal effectively and quickly to lessen the impact on our organization. Many large firms have adopted a crisis management plan to deal with the unexpected. Setting up a basic plan in your organization could help you survive a major crisis should if ever occur.
The first step is to anticipate possible crises. Identify and rank these according to impact and probability.
These possibilities should then be reviewed to ensure that your non profit is not over looking anything that might create or exacerbate such a crisis. Think of events and information that could possibly lead to a crisis.
The next critical and most important piece is creating a response plan and communicating this plan to everyone in the organization including your Board of Directors. This plan should then be made part of the Risk Management and Contingency plans.
When formulating the plan remember the “don’ts” are as important as the “do’s”:
- Don’t panic and assume you face a hostile environment.
- Don’t “clam up” which only raises suspicions and reduces confidence in your organization.
- Don’t obfuscate or shade the truth. As we have seen from recent public events this only leads to a worse outcome.
- Don’t be confrontational.
- Don’t let anyone but spokespersons interact with the public. Allowing employees or directors do so will only lead to confusion and a mixed message.
- Do get ahead of the story and be open with what has happened and the steps you are taking to correct the situation.
Now if a crisis occurs you will be prepared to deal with it.
Author: Dave Blankenhorn, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org