With lots of unexpected events we faced in the last decade and were not prepared for, like the global pandemic or full-scale Russian invasion in Ukraine, businesses do feel the need to be prepared to re-format their workflow according to the circumstances they get into and learn how to quickly get back to delivering services to your clients, and providing for your employees.
69% of business leaders claim to have experienced a crisis within a five-year period, as PWC states. The average amount of crises they faced was three. According to Deloitte, lots of companies when preparing for a crisis evaluate key scenarios (50%) and involve multifunctional teams (46%).
Crisis management in business is a complex process of getting ready for, planning and preparing, managing and mitigating risks, and damage from negative events that disrupt the company’s activity. The process includes working out productive strategies to cope with challenges and implementing them when a crisis takes place. Companies strive to minimize harm to their employees, customers, and stakeholders and construct potential response plans and methodologies.
In 2022, LANARS was forced to deal with such a challenge. With a full-fledged war starting on February 24th in Ukraine, where most of our team is located, we had to deal with crisis management inside our team. It is not a usual type of crisis companies may face, and unfortunately, we had to learn it the hard way. Drawing on our firsthand experience, we picked the top 5 crisis management tips for other CEOs out there, who might need help figuring out how to get back on track when their business plans are disrupted and move forward even more efficiently.
Develop a crisis plan. Yes, you can never be sure what will happen and which decisions will be the best in various crisis scenarios, but you should at least work out a general basis from where you can start when things spiral out of control. Having something prepared in advance helps you not to be caught off guard, the plan can be updated as the situation passes by, or in more peaceful times. Try brainstorming possible scenarios and responses to them, and prepare some statements or approximate step-by-step guidelines.
A crisis management plan usually has to tackle five important sides to the situation:
Accept responsibility. In cases when your public opinion and stance are required, you should hold yourself accountable for the action your company does and how it affects your image, and whether you’re helping on a global scope (if a crisis is not local, but involves more parties). Top managers should also accept responsibility for their team's successful and efficient activity, putting effort into guiding them if needed, and giving instructions and advice. If your company did something wrong, it is better to admit the mistake, not try and cover it up. The public always notices, stay honest and loyal to your clients and audience.
Consistent communication. Do not lose touch with your team, as well as with your clients. Keep every person involved updated, check up on the relevant processes, and inform if there are changes or unexpected circumstances. Also, it is really helpful to have an appointed spokesperson or spokespeople that can take care of the communication process. Delegating is your strength at all times. As per your team, what proved to be helpful in our situation is having weekly online meetings just to talk, update each other on what is going on at the time, and support each other.
Staying flexible. It ensures a balanced emotional environment at the workplace. This also helps to establish a workflow that suits every employee since every person is different in the way we react to the negative circumstances around us. Try together with your team to create an environment where there is no fear to ask for help, or tweak some plans to make them more comfortable thus making it possible for people to recharge and work with even more energy than before. Share your expertise with your team and inspire them to stay curious, stimulating the process of idea and skills sharing within your close-knit yet open-to-novelties community.
Make it obligatory. Crisis management is no longer to be ignored, such situations and events occur unexpectedly and develop at a rapid pace, so your team has to be trained on how to respond to such issues. They say, there are the 4Ps of crisis management: prevent, plan, practice, and perform — the core actions to be undertaken to achieve high crisis preparedness. Nip threats in the bud, create clear instructions, conduct training, and be ready to implement your plan when the real crisis enters the picture, and do not forget to spare some room for flexibility if a situation requires a bit different approach. Crises nowadays also depend upon important factors that shouldn’t be neglected as they might accelerate their evolvement:
To avoid finding yourself and your company in a place of jeopardy, when a crisis arises, a crisis management plan should be created. The team should feel supported and confident in their actions when tackling a crisis together. Company leaders have to take on responsibility for the company’s public conduct and admit mistakes. Communication is key, and here it is not a mere truism, it is an obligatory rule to be followed. Managers should not risk the company’s future and their employees’ welfare by staying ignorant in a world like ours — educate yourself and your team on many issues and challenges to have an open worldview, it will help to develop a flexible and productive approach to dealing with crises.
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