Ibis Associates


November 1999

Volume 1 No. 6

<SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial">LastLLLLThe last issue was devoted to identifying and managing specific issues of crisis on the InternetThis issue expands on that thesis and discusses overall business planning for crisis. Crisis issues are both time sensitive and unstable. The need to plan for such situations is observable. Prominent examples of corporate crises include the Exxon Valdez incident, Union Carbide in Bophol, India in 1984 and the Tylenol poisoning cases. Crisis issues are not of special concern to only to large corporations. They are of interest to any business at any time. Consider the effects of picket lines outside small grocery stores or potential situations that could injure an employee who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.



A<SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial">A crisis is an issue or incident that threatens your organization or reputation. It is important to plan for as many foreseeable contingencies as possible. The goal your planning should be for containment of the issue and positive counteraction.



1.      Assemble a team consisting of your top executives including public relations, marketing and sales, legal and all outside consultants you feel necessary. Make a list with names and telephone numbers and keep it at your office, home and travel address book. Keep it current.

2.      Do scenario planning hypothesizing the worst cases and scenarios and then the best outcomes. Work backward from the best outcomes to help in identifying the necessary steps to take in your plan.

3.      Work through the plan. Critique it, analyze it and set up any schematic.

4.      Rehearse the plan, test it and run simulations. Keep it current and updated.

5.      Identify any experts that you may need in executing the plan. Have them on retainer and include them in your rehearsals.

6.      Make sure that your main spokesperson is educated about your crisis management plan.




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1. Prioritize the situation and communicate privately with those that are most immediately affected. Remember there are always victims and their needs should be addressed first. Make sure that victims and their families are as comfortable as possible.

2. Senior executives must make certain that all decisions are prompt and honorable. Ensure that top management is and stays actively involved.

3. The essential strategy is reputation preservation. After all it is your reputation that is at stake. Most businesses survive a crisis. Your integrity will not return overnight.

4. Communicate information to those that really need it. Remember that in an explosive situation where the media is involved that the coverage continues even after the crisis is contained. Try to moderate any media influence.

5. Empower your managers. They should not be afraid to act.

6. All responses to the crisis should be straightforward and open with prompt disclosure.



Limit crisis visibility, try to<SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial">limit the Ll<SPAN style="FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><o:p></o:p></SPAN> control any surprises and carefully plan to eliminate any mistakes. Manage and control your communications and avoid media goading. Let other organizations speak for themselves. Do not get distracted, aggravated or hurried. Identify your communications goal early on. Do not let your opposition, media or critics to bully you into expanding your responses or creating new issues. Stay on point. Respond to the media only when it helps your strategy.

Make certain that your employees and their families stay quiet. Sometimes, as on the Internet, inaction is best because the situation may dispel on its own. You may not have to do anything.

Stay positive in internal and external communications avoiding negative connotations. Be consistent and brief in your communications. Get the good news to the public. Identify any heroes or champions that helped in damage control.

Remember to continue to communicate with your employees, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders. Make certain that their perception is the one you wish to project

When the crisis is over publicize it!


Careful planning and practice in crisis management guarantees results. Do not be afraid to have experts ready and on hand. Crisis management is about control. Manage the crisis and be pro-active, do not let the crisis manage you. Obviously it is impossible to be prepared for every situation and not every crisis will require intervention. Tools other than public relations may be helpful for crisis planning. Voice mail and a directed web site, cellular telephones, small portable computers with remote dial capabilities may assist you outside the office.


How Can Ibis Associates Help Your Organization?

Talk to us about our methods of improving your financial performance and assisting you in determining what strategy is best for you. Ibis can also provide assistance in helping your organization through a change and make your workforce adaptable to any environment. We strongly believe in the coaching method rather than the old typical impression of a consultancy.


Look for special guest writers in our upcoming issues. Future topics include coaching, workers compensation and organization change. Our white paper on financial issues for our non-profit clients is almost ready. It is an in-depth coverage of finance, procedures and analysis of performance that will assist in determining how healthy your non-profit organization really is.


Smile of the day

The optimist says the glass is half full. The pessimist says the glass is half empty. The pragmatist, being thirsty, drinks the water.


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