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Jim Now

“A Word with Your Boss, Please…”

If I could speak to the chief executive of your company or organization about the importance of readiness for crisis or emergency, we would discuss just a few career preserving subjects, and the conversation would take only a few minutes. The PR phrase, “Crisis Management” would never be mentioned since almost none of the clients I’ve worked for ever believed they would have a crisis, much less preparing to manage one. When we talk readiness, it’s a whole different conversation, one which leaders and managers understand. Here is the outline of that conversation:

  1. How responding quickly in the first 60-120 minutes of an emergency or disaster can save assets, markets, and reputations – and avoid or delay career-defining moments, his or hers.
  2. How managing victims immediately, humanely, and with compassion will de-escalate the visibility that poorly handled, revictimized, victims always causes.
  3. The reputational toxicity of silence.
  4. How well-handled, even perfectly managed, crises that are poorly communicated will always be remembered as bungled responses.
  5. If you fail to manage your own destiny from the start, there is always someone out there waiting and willing to do it for you. You won’t like it.
  6. Speed beats smarts every time. Waiting to execute the perfect response will cost you your reputation, and likely your job, and you will still fail.
  7. Bad news always ripens badly. Bad news brings bad stories. Mistakes will be made and the media will make things up. Fifty percent of your energy and 25% of your resources will go to fixing yesterday’s mistakes, yours and the media’s.
  8. Effective crisis communication involves simple, sensible, sincere, constructive, positive, and ethical approaches applied from the start.
  9. How to anticipate, preempt, and overcome the abusive, intrusive, and coercive behavior of new media bloviators, bellyachers, back-bench bitchers, activists, and critics (and the media).

The unplanned visibility that a crisis creates builds the expectation of honorable behavior among your most critical audiences and stakeholders including your own employees, the community, the government, and the victims. Are you ready?

Most managers and leaders consider themselves to be truly excellent communicators. Have you ever worked for a boss who thought he or she was a bad communicator? (LOL) The problem is, most crises are, or become crises, because they represent first-time experiences, regardless of planning and testing. “Lukaszewski on Crisis Communication: What Your CEO Needs to Know About Reputation Risk and Crisis Management” is about going beyond conventional wisdom. It’s about doing things that matter, now. Once you get what there is to do and say done and said during the first golden hour of response opportunity, the victims will thank you and the media will leave you alone.

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