A crisis does not always mean that a company is “in the wrong.” The word “crisis” isn’t synonymous with “you messed up.” It means something happened, generally something bad, and you need to do something about it. The problem with a crisis is that you can’t necessarily predict when one is going to occur, if you could, you could likely prevent it from occurring in the first place.
Does your 2011 plan have any crisis planning? Most likely it doesn’t, because judging from the way many companies respond to crisis it seems that “on the spot” is the most common plan. Many of the clients that we have gotten in the past for issues management, not all, but many, got blind-sided by a crisis and scrambled to employ our professional services.
Why now is the right time
You may have already had some sort of planning meeting for 2011. You may have set some goals for the first quarter, the first half of the year or even a plan for the entire year. Like all plans, there’s a good chance that not everything will go according to the plan. Beyond that, there’s a chance that external factors could disrupt the plan entirely. What would you do if something unexpected threatened your entire business? What if, through no fault of your own, a junior associate or customer facing employee did something on camera that goes viral? Are you really prepared for that?
Think it can’t happen?
Ask Domino’s about their staff?
Enlist the help of a professional or go it alone.
I would obviously encourage enlisting a professional service in your crisis planning. I happen to know of a very, very good firm, right in Philadelphia: Devine + Powers (Full Disclosure, I work at Devine + Powers). The truth is that crisis planning is too important to “wing it.” Take the time, make it part of the plan and protect yourself. If you never have a crisis, GREAT! But if you find yourself in the unfortunate position where you NEED crisis planning, you’ll be glad you were proactive rather than reactive.