Issues Management Top 10 for Summer of Uncertainty



Looking forward to that summer vacation? 

A quiet time on a beach with the new John Grisham book?

Hang on, Mr Grisham’s latest, ‘Camino Winds’ focuses on the impact of a hurricane in Florida. That theme is too close to the day job, right?

So, how about that other recently published thriller everyone is talking about, ‘The End of October’, by Lawrence Wright?

Well, that book is about the devastating impact on the world of a global pandemic (oddly, written before the advent of COVID-19). 

I read it and still cannot sleep at night. 

2020 has been that kind of year. 

There has been no escape from the uncertainty, the sense of being on a rollercoaster with each terrifying threat quickly followed by another, even worse threat.

This feels like a good moment to pause.

Let us tally up the immediate risks.

Let us make sure we have a buttoned-up, best practice approach to manage all the issues that are facing us in this difficult year. 

Here are the top 10 we should be tracking and analyzing and for which you must know how to respond quickly and effectively.

In reverse order:

  1. Stuff you posted on social media ages ago: Several executives and celebrities are now looking for work after discovering the internet never forgets. NFL draft hopefuls already understand the issue
  2. Active Shooter: Sadly, there is a lot of anger around right now – and gun sales have risen sharply during the pandemic crisis. 
  3. Supply chain integrity: We wrote about this earlier in the year, in relation to the disruption created  by the global pandemic. Then supply chain popped up again more recently as an area of risk if you have vendors who do not share your values in combatting racial discrimination.
  4. Cyber Security: Because while the world goes mad and your attention is elsewhere, there are still bad people trying to get hold of your data. In fact, as consulting firm PWC notes, attacks have increased during the pandemic.
  5. Tone-deaf marketing: Understand that right now everything your brand or organization says in public is instantly under scrutiny from customers, activists and even your own employees. Car company Volkswagen now understands.
  6. The General Election: The increasingly partisan and confrontational political climate has spilled over into society, culture and business. The run up to Tuesday November 3rd means, in the immortal words of Bachmann Turner Overdrive’s enduring 1974 classic, ‘You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet’.
  7. Hurricanes: The season began on 1st June, there has already been three named storms and managing public health risks makes the response even more difficult. We looked more closely at this here.
  8. HR/Workplace: Add the complications of the return to work, including delicate decisions about who returns and who does not, to the need to have clearer, stronger policies on everything from eradicating discriminatory behavior to revising the post-pandemic benefits and you have a serious HR mountain to climb.
  9. Racism: George Floyd’s death woke the country. Consumers demand that brands and organizations take a position. But doing the right thing takes thought and commitment. 
  10. The Impact of COVID-19: It is slipping from the news headlines, but it has not gone away. There could be a second wave, as there has been in virtually every other pandemic in history.  It is a major factor for your business, workplace and customer interactions for months.

Good luck with that relaxing beach holiday this summer!