Communications When Things Go Wrong

Communications When Things Go Wrong

Winning Friends In A Crisis – How To Manage Communications When Things Go Wrong!

How you handle communications when things go wrong is important.  Bad communications when things go wrongthings happen in all organisations. Sometime the problem lies within the organization. Sometimes it is the environment outside that causes a crisis. To respond well as a manager, you need a strategy that will do the following

  • Deal with the problem causing the crisis;
  • Assist any victims and those directly affected;
  • Communicate with, and enlist, the support of employees.
  • Inform those indirectly affected; and
  • Manage the media and all external stakeholders in the organization.

Seven dimensions

For communications when things go wrong, there are seven dimensions to consider. These will be  important if you want to communicate in a way that limits damage. Particularly to the reputation of the organization. There may be limitations on what you can say for legal reasons. But, the nearer you get to covering the seven dimensions, the more effective your communications will be.

The seven dimensions to consider for communications when things go wrong

  1.  Candor. A public acknowledgement that a problem exists and a commitment to put it right, usually wins trust. And it will win respect for the organization.
  2. Explanation. Explain promptly and clearly what went wrong. Base this on the knowledge available at the time and any legal constraints. If there is not yet full information, make a commitment to report regularly. Tell people when they can expect more information. Continue making reports until full information is available or public interest dissipates.
  3. Declaration. Make a clear public commitment to take steps to address and resolve any issues raised by the incident.
  4. Contrition. Make it clear that you, and those in charge of the organization, are sorry for what has happened. Show empathy and regret. If there is reason to be embarrassed, then show embarrassment about what has happened and for allowing it to happen.
  5. Consultation: Ask for help from pubic authorities and anyone else who can provide it, if that will help those hurt or prevent this from happening again. Do this even if it means accepting help from opponents or competitors.
  6. Commitment: Be prepared to make a promise that, to the best of the organisation’s ability, similar situations will never occur again.
  7. Restitution: Find a way to quickly pay the price, compensate and make restitution.

Go the extra mile

Show in your communications that you are prepared to go beyond what people would expect, or what is legally required, to put things right. Adverse situations remedied quickly, usually cost far less. They are controversial for shorter periods of time.

This is the gold standard. The closer you get to it, the more respect there will be for you, and your organization. Plus the sooner the public are likely to forgive, if not forget.

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

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Crisis Management

Crisis Management

Crisis Management – when disaster strikes!

Most large organizations these days, and many smaller ones, have crisis management plans. As a manager, you need to make sure that yours is up to date and that the key players know exactly what is expected of them.

If you don’t have a crisis management plan yet, you will find lots of resources on-line to help you and lots of companies willing to advise you. You will find great information on the Business Continuity Institute’s website

I hope that your crisis management plan reflects your organization’s core values. But here are some thoughts from me. 

People are really important. The right people need to be actively involved when disaster strikes. Leave status and the company hierarchy to one side when you plan your “war room”/control room. Top management may not be very useful. You need your operations’ people – the ones who know how to make things happen. No one should get into the war room unless they have a role and they are best equipped to carry it out. You can plan for this well in advance and you need to know who your specialists are and how to get hold of them.

Be Transparent. Tell the truth to your stakeholders (staff, customers, regulatory authorities, shareholders) and to the media.  Be as open as you can, within the bounds of law. With Twitter and Facebook around, it isn’t in anyone’s interest for you to start trying to throw a smoke screen over the fire, if you know what I mean! Honesty, sincerity and commitment to your staff and your customers can be tremendously disarming to potential critics.

Be clear about leadership. People get anxious and upset in a crisis, even when they try to hide it. They need a clear leader who knows how to stay calm and reassure everyone. Make sure there is a clear leader and, if it is you, focus on the task at hand, understand your goal and be ready to make decisions under pressure. That is what it means to be a leader! 

Know you priorities. In any emergency, “life” (that means people) comes first. Don’t lose sight of this. It is a good thing to remember this when you are doing your risk assessments, well ahead of the crisis. 

You need confidence to manage a crisis and if you would like to work on your confidence as a manager or a leader, please get in touch. I would like to help you.  Email me now to arrange a free half-hour taster coaching session by Skype.

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link