Responding to a Crisis
Traditionally, crisis management is the business of responding to a crisis. The preceding sections help you to set the essential foundations, but you can’t neglect the self-evidently critical importance of your crisis response: getting things right on the day. We keep this fairly simple and talk about two strands of response:
Situational awareness: Knowing what’s going on.
Decision-making: Deciding what to do about it.
Communication is also clearly vitally important – telling people inside and outside your company what’s going on and what you’re doing about it – and we discuss internal and external communication in Chapters 18 and 19, respectively. These items are inextricably linked. Decision-making without facts is like driving in the dark without lights. If you don’t make decisions then the crisis controls you and not the other way round. If you make decisions without communicating, you don’t carry anyone with you, stakeholders despair, customers abandon you and the media savage you.
If this sounds a little extreme, recall the last time you were on a train, heading for an important appointment, when it stopped. Nobody told you anything about what was going on, what they were doing about it and what you could expect, and by when. Infuriating, wasn’t it? And ...