Companies, small, medium, or large, and startups, have something in common – they can all find themselves, during any point in time, getting hit by a crisis. The problem or crisis may strike during any juncture, and it may occur in any form – be it financial considerations, product-association, public relations motivated, human resource driven, internal affairs, compelled by the market, or legally forced.
According to Murphy’s Law, "If anything can go wrong, it will." Therefore, in spite of taking all of the necessary steps and strategies for management, a crisis might catch an organization completely unprepared and unaware. Thus, crisis management becomes a vital management tool to ward off, handle, or solve a crucial situation.
According to the Gale Small Business Encyclopedia, "Crisis management includes a business plan of action which is quickly implemented as a negative occurrence arises." The Crisis Management Institute defines a business crisis as an issue which: 1) disrupts the way a company conducts business, or 2) attracts substantial public scrutiny or news media coverage. Usually, these crises possess the ability to propel a negative, legal, financial, governmental, or political repercussion on the business, particularly if the business isn't handled in an effective and prompt manner.’
Negative publicity, which ensues from the crisis, includes an extra tricky portion to deal with. Just as it’s critical to take effective and immediate measures to solve the issue, it’s just as important to efficiently deal with media attention and questions from dealers, creditors, and customers. Here include 5 helpful tips for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business managers on how they can deal with crisis management:
By nature, a crisis situation is panic-creating and usually sudden. As a CEO, you’ll discover yourself on the hot seat, bombarded by doubts, questions, negativity, and grievances as you struggle to lead your company and your team out of the morass.
Keep your nerves steady and your head on, and don’t succumb to frustrations, panic, or anger, as your staff is going to be looking up to you to discover a solution. Keep your tone level and take some immediate and firm actions to control the crisis. Lead from the front in order to get the situation into perspective.
Don’t stonewall the press
The media might ask questions that are uncomfortable to answer and customers might choke the phone lines with questions. Don’t avoid the public. Calmly and firmly share the facts, speak the truth, and avoid making the crises worse with excuses or made-up stories. It’s logical for the public, the media, and your clients to demand answers and have a desire to know what occurred, why it occurred and what’s being done to remedy the situation.
Don’t hide facts, but you don’t have to share inside information
This one is a bit tough. Hiding facts doesn’t help, because if they’re ultimately unearthed by third parties or the media, they’ll backfire into an even bigger disaster. Be truthful and upfront, avoid assumptions and speculations. If this problem is a tricky legal problem, be sure to consult legal counsel prior to giving any statements. Be certain internal data is only shared inside the crisis management team.
Create a more comprehensive, new guarantee of services or products
If the crisis is due to an affected service or product, you must take remedial measures to inspire customer confidence. Whatever measures you take, such as recalling a product, refunding a customer, or compensating damages – present the remedial measures as a company policy. Make sure you announce the measures you’re taking to prevent a repeat of the issue. If needed, don't be hesitant to issue an apology for inconveniences caused by this crisis and provide new guarantees.
Consult with other peers and CEOs
You aren’t the initial nor only CEO to face a crisis in a company. Your peers might’ve experienced similar situations. Consult and confer with additional CEOs, particularly if you’re a member of a CEO club or CEO association. How have your peers resolved or handled similar cases? You’ll gain some deep insights and precious practical advice about how to deal with crisis management. Your colleagues and customers alike will appreciate your straight forward, upfront candor.
Don’t lose your confidence and calm as you discover yourself in the midst of rough waters. Your calm is going to help the situation to be resolved with dignity and will rub off on everybody else involved within the crisis management staff.