If crisis were to strike your company tomorrow, is your organization #CRISISREADY?
Melissa Agnes is a sought-after, international crisis management keynote speaker. She delivers powerful talks that help today’s organizations understand the realities that loom when crisis strikes. Her customized presentations provide tools and strategies that create a proactive, crisis-ready corporate culture.
As President and Co-Founder of Agnes + Day Inc., Melissa has helped dozens of global brands and government agencies prevent and manage a wide range of issues before they become catastrophic.
This spotlight interview is on Melissa, and here is what she said:
What sparked your passion for crisis management?
MELISSA: The thing that most sparked my passion in this profession was – and continues to be – the unique advantages and opportunities that today’s technology presents to an organization’s crisis management and preparedness.
For example, when the world was dealing with the growing epidemic of Ebola in 2014, it was the BBC’s strategic leveraging of the mobile app, Whatsapp, that began to successfully manage the crisis, once and for all. By thinking strategically, and by leveraging technology that was freely available to them – and that made sense to their target audience – a news media organization managed to do what government agencies, NGO’s and humanitarian organizations were trying desperately to accomplish.
This to me, is completely inspiring. Helping organizations find strategic ways to leverage the technology, tools and resources available to them, in order to successfully manage the many obstacles that today’s crisis management presents, is what continues to thrill and inspire me, every day.
What types of audiences do you speak to?
MELISSA: The main audiences I speak to include:
- The C-Suite – Implementing a crisis-ready culture needs to begin at the top. Being the ones responsible and accountable for their organization’s crisis management, the leadership team has the most at stake when times get tough.
- The Crisis Management Team – I often conduct private seminars for an organization’s regional and global crisis management team, providing them with new tools and strategies to continue to strengthen their crisis preparedness program.
- HR Executives – Ask any HR executive and they’ll most likely tell you that employees are often an afterthought in times of crisis. And yet, effective internal communication is one of the secrets to successful crisis management. I help HR executives ensure they have a seat at the crisis management table, as well as strategize the most efficient ways to ensure prompt internal communication when it matters most.
- Communications Professionals (PR, marketing, sales, and social media teams) – Effective and prompt external communications is one of the most important aspects of successful crisis management, and these teams are the ones responsible for execution. They also play an important role in issue management and crisis prevention.
What are the benefits / advantages of having a crisis-ready culture?
MELISSA: The whole point of implementing a crisis-ready corporate culture is to enable and empower your entire team to instinctively know the right course of action to take in a negative situation, be it an issue or a potential or breaking crisis. Crises unravel far too quickly these days, and stakeholder expectations continue to heighten, which means that we can no longer solely rely on a document (plan) that was written months – or worse, years – ago. The goal needs to be to empower your entire team to be able to detect potential issues in real-time and to intrinsically know what is expected of them, by both internal and external stakeholders, in order to make the right decisions when time is of the essence.