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    Chief financial officers have dealt with auditors since the days of the abacus. Smart chief technology officers bring in friendly hackers to test the ability of firewalls to withstand cyber attacks. Facilities managers conduct evacuation drills.

    However, aside from airlines and a few industries susceptible to high-profile incidents, it is rare to see mandated, periodic reviews of a company’s crisis communications plan.

    This quote, from a PRSA article by Dave Armon, is an excellent way to explain a phenomenon that confounds crisis managers everywhere. Although businesses see the need to test or double-check themselves in many areas, crisis communications plans often sit untouched long after crucial details have become outdated, greatly reducing or completely negating their effectiveness.

    As communication options evolve, not only must plans be updated, but employees also need to be trained to take advantage of new platforms and techniques. These days the name of the game is Web-based and social media, and you’d better believe that any organization that has neglected to adapt their planning is taking a hammering when it comes time for crisis management.

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. , an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training.]