Why You Need a Crisis Management Plan
by Laura Horsford

Crisis situations arise every day in business. When this happens in your organization, it can feel like you are fighting an uncontrolled wildfire.

KVA has the unique expertise to not only partner with our clients and advise them through a crisis, but to also put a plan in place prior to the fire starting, ensuring you’re able to quickly put out the flames and minimize damage to your brand.

A crisis plan defines how your business will respond in a crisis. It is critical to have an easy-to-follow, step by step plan in place so you are prepared if and when a crisis occurs. The goal of a crisis plan is to minimize impact to your brand by allowing you to quickly and effectively respond.

How do we put a plan in place to fight the fires? 

Step 1:  The Crisis Team

Putting a plan in place requires buy in and input from the team that will ultimately be your firefighters. So, the first step is to identify who the crisis leadership team is. The crisis team leader will be the individual who is responsible for activating the plan and notifying the crisis team. Most crisis teams are made up of leaders in key competency areas in your organization such as Marketing, Communications, HR and Legal. Each team member’s role needs to be clearly defined.

Step 2:  Identify Possible Risk Areas

While there is no way to predict when a crisis will occur, you can take some steps to determine what fires are more likely to burn within your organization. Look at where your biggest areas of risk are. If your business entails manufacturing, could on-the-job injuries be a concern? If you sell consumer goods, are you prepared for a cyber-attack where PII data may be compromised? Are you prepared for an attack on your brand’s credibility on social media?

Step 3:  The Process

With your firefighters in place, you need to put together your training plan for the team. Your crisis plan will clearly define who activates the plan, what happens when the plan is activated, who is the comms lead, how often updates occur and how and when senior leadership is notified. It should not be complicated and must be easy to digest and follow so your team can quickly and effectively put the fire out.

Step 4: Pressure Test It

Just like training in firefighting, it’s important to practice and train before the actual fire occurs. Make sure your team has gone through the actions, used the plan and can quickly act. Use one of your risk scenarios, or a scenario that has happened at your organization in the past and pressure test the plan you have put in place. Go through the steps as you would if a crisis was truly happening and adjust your plan based on how the team performed.

When your organization is prepared and has the right plan in place, the risk of damage to your brand during a crisis is greatly reduced. Having a clear and concise, pressure tested plan in place BEFORE a situation arises puts your company multiple steps ahead in handling and effectively communicating during a crisis.

Dealing with a wildfire, or want to ensure your organization is prepared and can stay cool under pressure? Let’s Talk!


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