Most large organizations these days, and many smaller ones, have crisis management plans. As a manager, you need to make sure that yours is up to date and that the key players know exactly what is expected of them.
If you don’t have a crisis management plan yet, you will find lots of resources on-line to help you and lots of companies willing to advise you. You will find great information on the Business Continuity Institute’s website.
I hope that your crisis management plan reflects your organization’s core values. But here are some thoughts from me.
People are really important. The right people need to be actively involved when disaster strikes. Leave status and the company hierarchy to one side when you plan your “war room”/control room. Top management may not be very useful. You need your operations’ people – the ones who know how to make things happen. No one should get into the war room unless they have a role and they are best equipped to carry it out. You can plan for this well in advance and you need to know who your specialists are and how to get hold of them.
Be Transparent. Tell the truth to your stakeholders (staff, customers, regulatory authorities, shareholders) and to the media. Be as open as you can, within the bounds of law. With Twitter and Facebook around, it isn’t in anyone’s interest for you to start trying to throw a smoke screen over the fire, if you know what I mean! Honesty, sincerity and commitment to your staff and your customers can be tremendously disarming to potential critics.
Be clear about leadership. People get anxious and upset in a crisis, even when they try to hide it. They need a clear leader who knows how to stay calm and reassure everyone. Make sure there is a clear leader and, if it is you, focus on the task at hand, understand your goal and be ready to make decisions under pressure. That is what it means to be a leader!
Know you priorities. In any emergency, “life” (that means people) comes first. Don’t lose sight of this. It is a good thing to remember this when you are doing your risk assessments, well ahead of the crisis.
You need confidence to manage a crisis and if you would like to work on your confidence as a manager or a leader, please get in touch. I would like to help you. Email me now to arrange a free half-hour taster coaching session by Skype.
Wendy Mason is a career coach working mainly with professional women who want to make that jump to senior level while having a life outside work. Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR. She now divides her time between face to face coaching, and coaching and blogging on-line. You can contact Wendy at email@example.com and find out more athttp://wisewolfcoaching.com
Coming shortly – Getting There With WiseWolf, the Career and Personal Development Programme – if you would like to know more firstname.lastname@example.org