Good crisis management covers both
It’s pretty obvious that you can’t just wing it when it comes to crisis management. While business leaders as a whole are far more on board with the whole “crisis plan” thing than they were some 10-15 years ago, their focus is still typically very much on the now.
Few feel the need to pour time and money into a long-term crisis management plan once their brand’s no longer being slammed on the ‘net or in the news, but the reality is that making this investment will help to enhance and maintain the positive results attained by the initial crisis management strategy.
Not sure what the difference should be, or wondering what exactly should be involved with each? Check out this quote, from an excellent BankDirector.com article by Jean Veta:
Develop a Short-Term Plan
The institution’s short-term plan for addressing the crisis should include an evaluation of the need for an internal investigation by internal or outside counsel. The short-term plan also should consider whether the institution’s regulator(s) or law enforcement should be notified and the extent to which key constituencies, including employees, customers, shareholders, and the public need to be informed. It is essential to act in an expedited yet careful fashion to assess key evidence and the applicable legal framework in formulating a short-term plan.
Develop and Execute a Long-Term Plan
To weather a crisis effectively, an institution must stay focused on its key objectives, while remaining flexible to adjust. An institution’s long-term plan, depending on the crisis, may include: remediation of the harm, implementation of enhanced internal controls, improved management reporting to ensure appropriate monitoring, and increased internal audit standards to test the institution’s compliance responses.
Essentially, the short term plan addresses the incident itself. The long term plan is more focused on settings things right and enacting protocol to ensure the crisis cannot be repeated. Not as complex as you thought, right?
If you take your crisis management seriously, it will show. Stakeholders, while undoubtedly initially quite upset, will eventually have their faith in your organization enhanced when they see you’re committed to not only cleaning up your mess, but also working to ensure it can’t happen again.
As we always say, crises WILL occur, even to the most benign and well-protected organizations. It’s the actions afterward that will make or break the well-being of your most valuable asset – your reputation.
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, author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]