In a previous post we highlighted the elements of an underperforming crisis plan, to encourage companies to self-evaluate and improve those important tools. But just like a Beethoven composition requires a well-trained orchestra to perform a symphony, a good crisis plan deserves an aligned and rehearsed team to capably protect the brand and corporate reputation.
Is that capability lacking in any way? Here are some watch-outs:
- Lack of playbook familiarity. If a crisis team is looking through a playbook for the very first time during a crisis, you can bet it won’t be very effective. Orientation training with interactive exercises is a great opportunity to onboard team members, get their feedback (essential to build group ownership), and build alignment on roles, expectations, information- and decision-flow.
- Lack of executive team endorsement. If playbooks and tools are considered to be only “one-team’s product” within a company, they’re likely to be ignored. Having leadership sign off on the playbook and show support of your plan of attack will help other team members feel good about it too.
- Remember, a playbook won’t have all the answers. A crisis rarely happens exactly as predicted and there will be times when a crisis team has to make on-the-spot judgment calls. A well-integrated team will have better success pulling some guidance from the tools in a playbook as well as relying on the team’s experience, training, situational awareness, and teamwork.
- Failure of imagination. Most companies we’ve helped through crisis understand the importance of maintaining credibility and focusing a team to row in one direction. However, the most common weakness of a crisis team is often the inability of applying foresight and flexibility to the crisis response. For example, the stakeholders you must reach on day one of a crisis may be very different from the stakeholders you reach on day five. The same can be said of the goals and strategies that you set—these can also re-adjust. This is why we advocate strategy workshops, which are interactive trainings that build muscle to best manage a lot of the gray areas of crisis/reputation management.
M Booth helps our clients build great tools and cultivate great crisis-management capabilities through our reputation resilience programming. These are essential elements in 2022, when brands and reputations can be challenged in an instant.
About M Booth’s Crisis Capability
Over the years, our team has provided crisis/reputation resilience services to more than 170 of the world’s best-known brands and organizations—including more than 35 on the current 2021 Fortune 500 list. If you want to know more, ping firstname.lastname@example.org.