Keep leadership involved for crisis management success
Organizations frequently bring in outside crisis management professionals in time of trouble, but just because you’ve hired someone to lead your efforts doesn’t mean it’s time to tune out.
Keeping company leadership involved in crisis management serves to motivate employees and ensure the tone and content of messaging remains consistent. It also helps stakeholders to view your organization as one that genuinely cares. The image of the CEO rolling up his shirt sleeves and lending a hand is a cliche for a reason – it works. Not only that, but keeping leadership involved also puts a face on your organization, an increasingly important fact in a society that’s rejected the robotic corporate communications that were standard 10-15 years ago. In addition, by being intimately involved with crisis management efforts, leadership can gain the type of “on-the-ground” knowledge and insight that often doesn’t make it into situation reports.
This isn’t to say that leaders shouldn’t delegate in crises, because there’s simply too much work not to. Although it’s possible to create impromptu teams for tasks like handling reporter’s inquiries and social media monitoring in the midst of a crisis, it’s much more effective if these teams are built beforehand. That way they have time to formulate crisis response plans for their particular niche and actually practice them, uncovering flaws and ensuring strong execution when it comes to the real thing. Properly prepared, these teams can take enormous amounts of pressure off of leadership, allowing them room to breathe in what is often an extraordinarily stressful situation.
No matter what type of organization you run, you are at risk of crisis, and when the inevitable does happen your employees and stakeholders are going to look to leadership for answers and direction. If you truly want to be effective, remember that good crisis management means getting your hands dirty.
The BCM Blogging Team