The 3 Quickest Ways to Improve Crisis Prevention Success Rates

Erik Bernstein Crisis Prevention

The 3 Quickest Ways to Improve Crisis Prevention Success Rates

The least damaging crises are those you prevent altogether or for which, at a minimum, you have crisis prevention systems and processes in place to minimize damage that can’t be totally avoided.  Very logical, right? Factually, in our experience, most organizations still remain dramatically underprepared for crises.  However, there are a few simple things you can do, starting now, to change that and increase your odds of crisis prevention success.

Crisis prevention expert’s top recommendations to increase success

  1. Institutionalize the concept of accountability – doing what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it or having a damn good reason why you’re not.
  2. Create systems for rapidly detecting threats at their earliest stages, then make sure you’re using those systems as a part of daily operations.
  3. Conduct a post-crisis analysis EVERY time you’ve gone through a crisis or even a near-miss, looking for what you did right as well as what you could have done better to amend future planning and training accordingly.

Breaking down crisis prevention success advice

Now that we’ve shared the 3 quickest ways to improve crisis prevention success rates, let’s break each one down a little.

  1. Institutionalize the concept of accountability. Time and again, as a crisis management consultant and consumer, I’ve encountered everything from customer service people to business owners who CLEARLY do not practice accountability and then are eaten alive on review sites, in local media, often landing in litigation-related trouble as well. The vast majority of these types of crises are preventable, and you should be working to prevent them where you can because it’s been proven repeatedly that the reputation risk created by these events invariably impacts market share negatively.
  2. Create and staff systems for rapidly detecting threats. With a variety of affordable paid mention tracking services available, alongside tools like Google Alerts and a growing number of AI-powered search options, most organizations should be able to detect and either prevent or minimize damage from potential threats very early in the crisis cycle – if you have someone assigned to actively watch for the signs. It’s important to note that making the most of the sophisticated search options available does require know-how in terms of how to properly configure these tools to spot what you need without sifting through an overwhelming barrage of unrelated results. Having people on staff, or as consultants, who understand this subject well is critical.
  3. Conducting post-crisis analysis. Hate to be trite, but if we don’t learn from history, we tend to repeat it!  The military has become very good at the process of “After Action Reports” because, quite simply, if they fail at this process, more people die or get injured. You know what? The same pattern is true for any civilian organization as well – you will incur more crises, and more severe crises, if you fail to analyze each after the fact with the goal of learning how to improve your crisis prevention and response success rates going forward.

In our more than three decades in business advising on topics related to crisis prevention and response, we’ve found that over 95% of crisis situations have, in hindsight, been preventable.  Try foresight instead – it’s much cheaper!

Jonathan Bernstein
Founder & Chairman
Bernstein Crisis Management