Think back to the last time your organization ran into an ugly situation that was resolved before it became an actual crisis. When things died down did everyone breathe a big sigh of relief and head back to work, or did you stop to ask yourselves “How could we prevent this next time?”. Chances are you did the former, and that’s a problem. Quite often when we’re brought in to help with response to a breaking crisis we’re told that something similar happened weeks, months, or even years before and managed to stay under the radar. But, instead of looking back to see how the issue could have been prevented in the first place and making necessary changes to policy, procedure, or training, everyone was so glad it was over that they sort of…forgot.
Any time you encounter an unsatisfactory situation, whether it’s on the scale of a small influx of negative reviews or a massive public protest, ask yourself “How could we prevent this next time?”. You can’t avoid every crisis, but if you encounter the same one twice and haven’t prepared then you’re making a conscious choice to take more damage than necessary.
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 vice president for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]