Fix it and forget it is great when it comes to cooking, not so much for crisis management.
Many organizations, once clear of a crisis situation, simply move on with business as usual. While we understand the urgent need to do the things that bring in money on a daily basis, neglecting to conduct a “lessons learned” session is asking for trouble to come knocking again.
“But we’ve learned our lesson, see? We made it out of the crisis!”
Seasoned (and honest) crisis management pros will tell you that they never manage a crisis perfectly. Regardless of if the outcome is ideal in the end, there is always something that could be improved, done faster, made more effective, etc.
Some time after the crisis has cooled off, but not so far past that details have been forgotten, pull your crisis team together for a three-step session:
What went well? – It’s not all about what went wrong, take note of any tactics or specific messaging that worked well, which communications platforms were particularly useful, basically anything that you feel lessened the impact of the crisis and made your life easier. Pay special attention to any “outside the box” solutions that turned out to be effective, and be sure to document exactly how they were implemented.
What went poorly? – As we said, no crisis management effort is perfect, whether word of internal hiccups ever hits the public eye or not. Make sure to get everyone’s input on problems you encountered, from small issues like slow email communication, to major incidents such as a misinterpreted Facebook explanation drawing protestors to your page. Often, bringing different points of view together can identify the root cause behind the predicament.
Apply it! – Bring out your formal crisis management plan and apply the learnings from the first two to improve it. Leave what worked, fix anything you’ve identified as a source of trouble, and don’t forget to add in anything new that you found worked well.
Your crisis management plan is not set in stone, and it’s highly likely that every crisis will bring new changes as you learn, adapt and grow. Take lessons to heart, learn from mistakes, as well as success, and keep evolving to best suit the wants and needs of your stakeholders.
Social Media Manager