Expecting the Unexpected: What We Can Learn from a Crisis
The world has changed drastically in the past year, forcing all of us to try to adjust. While this is disconcerting and we cannot control the situation, what we can control is our response to it.
Good business leaders know surviving a crisis depends on having an emergency plan in place, as any disruption of daily activities can have a major impact. A Crisis Communications Plan can include scenarios on what to do if there’s a major fire at the facility, an accident that injures employees or others, a long-term internet disruption, a rogue employee, or an advanced cyber-attack, among other possible scenarios. A company’s immediate goal is to get operations back to some semblance of normalcy as quickly as the circumstances allow.
An organization’s Crisis Communication Plan needs to go beyond what is happening today, this week, or this month. The ripple effect from a crisis can impact a company for a year or even longer. For instance, with the demand for travel reduced since March of 2020, airlines might not recover until 2024. (Business Insider, Aug. 2, 2020, https://www.businessinsider.com/airlines-coronavirus-recovery-2024-delays-2020-70). The existing situation of the ongoing pandemic is serious, but we also need to be thinking about how we can apply what we’ve learned to the next crisis.
As our current circumstances demonstrate, we have to consider anything that could happen, no matter how unlikely. The firms that succeed will be the ones that learn to adapt.
For that reason alone, a Crisis Communications Plan/disaster preparedness plan should never be considered a “one and done” task. Businesses must constantly change and adapt to new conditions. The economic landscape is also fluid, so it’s important that a company’s Crisis Communications Plan be constantly evolving as well.
The best time to do it is now, not when you’re in the middle of a crisis. You don’t want to be “changing the batteries on a smoke detector while your house is on fire.” Be prepared. Expect the unexpected. If you’d like to learn more about creating a Crisis Communications Plan for your business, please contact me.