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Strategic Planning in Crisis Management

During your life, an unfortunate singular event or series of events will undoubtedly occur that pose a threat to your health, safety or wellbeing. Likewise, the same holds true for your organization. These events can come in the form of business interruptions, financial loss, public safety predicaments, adversities, catastrophes and reputation loss. In other words, your organization will find itself knee deep in a crisis.

Crisis management is a necessary and essential organizational component.  Failure by not having a crisis management strategy in place can result not only in financial losses for your organization, it can pose severe harm to customers, employees and vendors; and in extreme cases end the organization’s very existence.
Like taxes and death, crises are inevitable. There is no way to guarantee that an organization will escape crises. Unexpected and unpredictable events can thrust any organization past the limit of an able response. However, according to Pearson (2002), A Blueprint for Crisis Management, a systemic crisis management tactic can, through the practice of clear thinking, the seamless directing of resource and information access, and the knowledge gained under simulated pressure, increase the possibility of emerging relatively unscathed. After years of assisting organizations through crisis, Pearson has created 10 essential guidelines for effective crisis management:
1. “Act in a way that would make your mother proud;
2. NEVER lie;
3. Tell the truth and tell it quickly;
4. Make crisis preparation an ongoing process;
5. Remember your employees;
6. Make time to learn after the crisis has passed;
7. Designate one spokesperson and surround that individual with experts as needed;
8. Support messengers of bad news;
9. Build positive relationships in advance;
10. During and after crises, have patience with others….and with yourself.”

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