By Mary Ellen Slayter on July 1, 2010
I’m reporting live from the SHRM’s annual conference out in San Diego this week, where I had the opportunity to talk with retired FBI agent Jeff Lanza, president of Communication Dynamics. Jeff, an expert in crisis management, discussed what companies can do to prepare for potential crises and manage them when they occur.Among his tips:
- Brainstorm 10 scenarios that might imperil your company and think about ways you might respond in each of those situations to protect the interests of your customers, employees and shareholders. Thinking through those scenarios “will help you prepare for the crisis, but also it may expose vulnerabilities that you have in your organization, and you may be able to fix those vulnerabilities before the crisis even occurs,” he says.
- Don’t default to a “bunker mentality” and lock down your corporate communications in a crisis. “If they’re not telling the story, then someone else is going to start telling the story for them. When a company’s in crisis mode, they need to be the first and most credible source of information.”
- Show empathy to everyone affected by the crisis. “People want to know that you care about them, and once you show that you care, it humanizes you as an organization.”
From Lee Cockerell on the subject of being ready for a crisis.
At Walt Disney World we always handled every crisis from 9/11 to hurricanes almost perfectly because several times a year we did live action simulations at all times of the day and night. When the real thing came….everyone was ready. Like everything in life, “practice makes perfect.” In our command center we had all of the experts and everyone knew what to do. Are you ready for a crisis in your business life and personal life. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best……Lee