By its founder and CEO Evan Nierman Red baniaAn international crisis communications company, and author of the Amazon bestseller Avoid crises.
Crisis occurs in every corner and failure to prepare means failure to survive. This is why CEOs must work hand in hand with an integrated team of internal and external leaders so that crises do not go from bad to worse. Having a crisis plan before the need is essential preparation for any company or organization.
The urgency of social media makes it even more important for CEOs to be prepared when problems arise. Adverse or false narratives can get out of control on the Internet, creating problems where they did not exist. When there is an emergency, there is less time to think. Planning a crisis ahead of time simplifies decision making and ensures the most favorable outcome possible.
Failure to prepare for crisis communication can be catastrophic.
Do you have a step-by-step plan to follow up if a crisis arises? Who will issue a public statement about what has happened and what is happening in your company? Do you have a company spokesperson or is your CEO planning to handle the responsibilities? There is no right or wrong way to handle crisis communication, but you need to have a process so that you have a road map to follow.
Crisis preparation means putting together an efficient crisis response team of people who can stay calm and think clearly under stress. Nowadays, the smallest mistake can be shared online where it can become food for the virtual world of critics who want nothing better than to see you fail.
As CEO, what role do you play in controlling reputation damage?
According to Deloitte International Consulting Services, the biggest concern for CEOs is the loss of reputation, which falls into two categories: “Failure.”[meet] Stakeholders’ expectations “and” ineffective management response to a crisis situation. “Having a trained crisis response team in place can solve both of these problems.
Let’s face it: companies’ reputations are at risk when they fail to show efficiency and transparency in times of crisis. Reputation resilience depends on effective risk management and crisis response. However, a CEO cannot handle a crisis alone. They need the support of a trained crisis management team so that they can all deal with emergencies together.
Issues of transparency, honesty and accountability.
When a crisis arises, CEOs need to understand how to minimize losses, increase shareholder confidence, and save the bottom line. After all, when an emergency occurs, dip it or swim.
First and foremost, be honest and tell the truth. There is a way to catch a lie and once you lose faith, it is very difficult to get it back.
If you share information, clearly explain what steps are being taken to deal with the situation and, if possible, offer a timeline for future action. If the company makes a mistake in any way, apologize and then move on.
Always separate emotions from truth and learn from the mistakes of others. Prepare, practice and review your crisis response plan. And remember that social media can accelerate any crisis. Always be careful.
Be available and attentive.
CEOs should see, talk and listen when a crisis arises. They are the face of their organization, and their presence can instill confidence in stakeholders who may be worried about the future. An available CEO demonstrates to employees, stakeholders, and investors that they are in control and accountable.
While a CEO can funnel communications through a company spokesperson or communications team, his or her presence is evidence of corporate concern and involvement. An involved CEO will get to know their Crisis Response Team more closely, be able to take advantage of key partnerships and ensure that all team members share the same perspective.
In my experience, companies with involved CEOs that show a presence of mind during a crisis tend to recover more quickly and smoothly because dynamic builds company-wide confidence.