Digital Age Crisis Lessons: #1 You are not ready to respond as quickly

Business Discussion

Many of you who read this blog have in the past year downloaded our e-book, written and edited by experts, The New Rules of Crisis Management in the Digital Age.

From the wonderful content in that book we created the 10 Rules of Crisis Management – which we wrote about in this blog.

Ahead of a new edition of the book with four new chapters by noted crisis experts (more news to come in a few weeks’ time!), we’ve gone one step further.

We’ve turned the rules into practical lessons.

These are 10 lessons based on practical, easy to apply concepts, with the necessary examples, which anyone involved in crisis management should use to sharpen their own crisis response protocols and procedures.

Over the coming weeks, in an occasional series, we’ll visit each one of the lessons.

We will begin with the #1 lesson – ‘You are not ready to respond as quickly as you think’.

There was a recent timely reminder of how organizations know that speed is essential, but then don’t put systems in place to achieve it.

A survey revealed that nearly 50% of organizations would not know until the next morning if a bad event occurred during the night.

Even large sophisticated organizations with significant resources and expertise prove how difficult it is to react effectively and quickly to a threat.

For a long while, United Airlines delayed and bungled response to the widely shared videos of Dr David Dao being dragged off a plane at Chicago in April 2017 set the gold standard.

However, in the opinion of many observers, Boeing now becomes the favored case study for its slow and cumbersome reaction to the crashes and subsequent revelations of repeated technical problems in its 737 Max aircraft.

So how can you be sure that you are not fooling yourself with a mis-placed confidence in your own organization’s readiness to react with the necessary speed?

The first step is to dispel the complacency that crises only happen to other people.

Then you need to examine and test every facet of your preparedness resources to assess whether they would help or hinder in a fast response to a crisis:

  1. Is your crisis plan too long and complex?
  2. Are there quick steps to help assess if it is a crisis – or just a temporary issue?
  3. Do you have smart, easy to use protocols to guide the crisis team in its response?
  4. Have you got enough social media tools and resources – and is the team adequately trained on them?
  5. Do you have the digital technology to activate a speedy response – for example, a mobile crisis app?
  6. Are you ready to engage with your own employees – potentially a great asset?
  7. Have you run a drill or training workshop for the team in the past 12 months?

As we move through our 10 Digital Age Crisis Lessons, we will look in more detail at each of these so you will know if you really are equipped to react to a threat with speed and effectiveness.