Crisis Planning for 2018: 5 Threats That Still Pack a Punch

Pack a punch

Wow! 2017 year has been a wild ride for crisis managers.

It began with an unprecedented threat faced by companies who scrambled to put a plan together should they be named and shamed in a tweet by the then new US President.

It is ending with an equally unparalleled and deeply disturbing wave of accusations of sexual misconduct, and worse, aimed at famous names representing large and well-regarded organizations.

Given all of that, you might wonder how any organization could anticipate and prepare for what lies around the corner in 2018.

The first step would to be make sure that don’t get too swayed by the last thing you read in the Wall Street Journal’s Risk & Compliance blog (good though it is as a barometer of current threats and crises).

A number of well-established and long-standing threats wreaked havoc on the reputation and business of well-known brands over the past 12 months.

Therefore, make sure your crisis plan is up-to-date and robust on old favorites.

Here’s a ‘famous five’ that should be in any organization’s plan:

  • Data Leaks – this has been a problem for years, but it seems that defenses are still not in place, even among those who handle large amounts of sensitive data. The spectacular Equifax example is a doozy.
  • Extreme Weather – never the most fashionable or exciting part of a crisis plan, but this year proved how important it is to have a response mapped out, especially for internal employee communication. Organizations in Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico, among many others, are still coping with the after effects of named storms.
  • Corporate Malfeasance – it’s always awkward presenting a crisis plan to senior management that anticipates what will happen if one of them goes off the rails. But in recent months we have had examples of sexual misconduct, miss-use of company jets, bullying in the workplace and all the usual financial shenanigans.
  • Product Malfunction – another problem that always happens to someone else until it happens to you. Good Housekeeping’s 2017 list has the usual alarming examples from child’s car seats to IKEA dressers.
  • Workplace Shootings – horrific to contemplate and difficult to plan against, but it must be in your preparedness toolkit. Sadly, and tragically, events in 2017 have shown this is a very real threat.

In the next blog we’ll look at a list of newer, emerging risks that are more the product of the times we live in – in many cases, issues arising from where social, culture, race and politics form a toxic stew of organizational threats.


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