Digital Age Crisis Lessons: #5 It’s All About Smart Protocols


In 1951 one of America’s literary greats, the beat author, Jack Kerouac, famously wrote the first draft of his masterpiece, ‘On The Road’, as a continuous draft on one enormous single roll of paper.

{Side story – that huge scroll of paper is in the possession of the owner of the Indianapolis Colts football team, Jim Irsay.}

Kerouac is an unlikely inspiration for the authors of crisis preparedness plans.

However, I have read (and, *blush*, written) crisis plans that appeared to have been authored with the same mad frenzy to get as many words as possible down on the pages.

You’ve seen them.

But we don’t need them.

Long dense paragraphs of crisis theory and practice, with guidance that appeared to have modeled on the by-laws of an especially bureaucratic Savings & Loan.

The speed at which issues unfold and gather momentum driven by social media, means that in the moment you mobilize to respond to a threat, you do not have time to wade through pages of guff to get to the good stuff.

It is especially true if you adopt a crisis management app, like our own In Case of Crisis, to enable quick access and activation of issues management resources.

Increasingly clients of In Case of Crisis are adopting the app immediately, without waiting for a monolithic new plan to be budgeted or completed.

In a blog earlier this year, I shared the story of a noted college which captured the spirit of the day when it told us that what it wanted was the power of the app to have its team activated quickly, access easy-to-use tools and collaborate seamlessly to manage the school’s response to the many issues it faces every week.

The content on the app for this increasingly popular, more evolved digital crisis preparedness, is a series of ‘smart protocols’.

What are ‘smart protocols’?

They are easy to read, and even easier to use, resources such as:

  • Actionable documents that guide the team’s response to any issue. 
  • Checklists and decision-making guidelines. 
  • Crisp, clear policies for assessing quickly the level of risk
  • Tools to help the team to quickly arrive at the most effective stakeholder and social media responses
  • Step-by-step escalation procedures 

They can be created quickly, guided by best practice templates, for almost immediate application.

What they are not is long, difficult to read and even harder to use.

This is #5 in an occasional series of blogs under the overall theme of ‘The Ten Digital Age Crisis Management Lessons for Everyone’. 

In our next blog in this series, Lesson #6, we will argue why you cannot have enough social media tools, resources & training.

Check out the #1 lesson here. 

Check out the #2 lesson here.

Check out the #3 lesson here

Check out the #4 lesson here.