3 Things You Must Do When Managing a Crisis
When we plan, whether it's for personal, small business, or non-profit development planning, the assumption is a successful outcome. We work hard to make sure the plan will lead us to profitability. But, many things cause delays or derail us from our end game. Most plans do not have a crisis component built into it, which is a mistake. ANYTHING could go wrong. I've seen some of the best-laid plans fail miserably because something went wrong.
When a crisis occurs, you might be able to manage it internally without news leaking to the public. However, more often than not, the public finds out. So, plan for the fail, for a crisis, and for news going public.
Here are 3 things you must do when managing this kind of crisis...
1. Don't hide or say, "no comment."
When a crisis occurs, don't hide from it. Whether it has gone public or not, take action. Call a meeting with at least your senior staff and communicate exactly what is going on. If the news has gone public, do not wait for the press to pound down your door. Be proactive and control the story by calling a press conference. Never say, "no comment." Those two words always mean you are hiding something or you don't know how to talk about what is happening. When you are straightforward and forthcoming about what is going on, people will continue to trust you through the crisis. This is important when things go wrong. You need supporters by your side while you "fix" things.
2. Be authentic, real, and apologize if necessary.
In our personal relationships, we apologize when we know we were wrong or if our actions hurt the other person (even though it may take some time). The same is true for a business or non-profit. If you screw up, apologizing is the fastest way to have people sympathize and want to help. If you try to defend the actions or blame something or someone else, the community and your customers will lose respect fast. And you will lose them fast. Be honest about what is happening; be authentic in your response about taking responsibility and making things right again.
3. Share what you do well and stand by your mission and passion.
Hey, we all make mistakes. Some of us make big ones compared to others, but you know you've done some great stuff for the community with your products and services. The backlash around your mistake wouldn't be such a big deal if people didn't care about your work and what you provide them. So, remind the public and yourselves internally about what you stand for and your accomplishments. Also, communicate your ability to solve the problem and the steps you are taking to get you back on track to fulfill your mission.
Whether you are a small business that has failed to please a client or a non-profit organization dealing with financial mismanagement, these 3 tips for managing a crisis will help you navigate your way through the tumultuous times. Remember, be proactive and plan for a crisis to occur. Be ready to handle it professionally and gracefully. Emerge with the least amount of damage possible.
In honor of your Illumination,