When you pop a champagne cork, the bubbles of carbon dioxide form at tiny defects in the glass, join together, and explode upward when enough pressure builds. Crises usually start small, like champagne bubbles, and explode when the pressure builds to the breaking point.
Keynote speaker and crisis management expert, Melissa Agnes, has helped dozens of global brands and government agencies deal with crises before that explosion, preventing and managing a wide range of issues before they become catastrophic. Her customized presentations provide tools and strategies that create a proactive, crisis-ready corporate culture.
Our speaker spotlight is on Melissa, and here is what she said:
Are there specific companies or industries that need to be #CrisisReady or is it something every business needs? Explain.
MELISSA: It’s definitely something that every business today needs, as crises don’t discriminate. A crisis can strike and present major consequences to any company, no matter its size, type or industry. What does change, depending on the type and size of the organization, is the risk and the required response to that risk.
The best way for organizations to begin to implement a crisis-ready culture, is to set out to identify the high-risk scenarios that are most likely to impact their business. This exercise applies to every single business, and will help the organization then determine its required next steps to becoming crisis-ready.
If a company does not have a crisis-ready culture, what is the biggest challenge they might face?
MELISSA: Crisis management is something that needs to be thought through and prepared for prior to experiencing a crisis. If crisis strikes when a company is not crisis-ready, the challenges, obstacles, pressures and consequences risk being far greater than they would otherwise need to be. For example:
- With the media being the 24-7-real-time engine that it is, the longer an organization takes to respond to a crisis, the more they lose any semblance of control over the narrative of the crisis and its story. Without having thought through the pertinent risks and their appropriate responses, how can an organization aim to meet the real-time communication requirements that will help it position itself as the voice of trust, credibility and leadership required to help it successfully manage the crisis?
- When a high-profile crisis strikes, the chatter and noise on social media and beyond, can be overwhelming and overpowering, and can consist of questions, speculation, rumors, links, opinions, concerns, and more. In this event, your team would need to be able to a) effectively monitor and filter through the noise, to identify the important information that pertains to the crisis, your organization and its stakeholders; and b) rise above this noise in order to ensure prompt and effective communication with those who matter most to your business. Without the implementation of a crisis-ready culture, would your team be equipped to efficiently do this, right from the onset of the crisis?
- Early detection, proper internal escalation and successful issue management are important aspects of crisis prevention and management. However, in order to detect a looming threat, your team needs to know what to look for; proper internal escalation requires pre-developed protocols and training that will most likely be different depending on the high-risk scenario; and successful issue management requires an understanding and the honing of skills and instincts prior to the issue taking place. Each of these things are important aspects of a crisis-ready corporate culture, without which, you may be left in the dark.