The critical factor in
getting through a disruptive crisis is
getting ready for any inevitable crisis.

The ingredients in crisis communication preparedness include:

  1. a clear sense among the organization’s leaders of responsibility, accountabiltiy, and prudence;
  2. at least one internal expert on the human aspects of crisis management, as well as a relationship with a proven crisis consulant;
  3. a management educated on what constitutes a crisis and how to respond;
  4. easy to find and navigate procedures for a variety of crises; and
  5. urgency, control, and empathy when the crisis hits.

AlligatorsHealth Scare
Rumors began spreading among employees that Legionella bacteria may have contaminated their office building. One employee, hospitalized with pneumonia, was examined for Legionnaire’s disease. Though his tests proved negative, other employees questioned whether the bacteria had triggered his illness, and some worried about the origin of their own flu-like symptoms.

  1. Could and would management appreciate employees’ perceptions and emotions and not dismiss the issue based on insufficient evidence.
  2. Who would be the most credible and persuasive source of information that would calm employees’ concerns?

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By the mid-‘80s, an electronic company’s plastic molding facility had either eliminated or decreased the use of common industrial solvents. The company had followed accepted practices for handing such chemicals and had complied with federal, state, and local regulations. However, anticipating tighter federal and state standards, the company conducted an internal environmental audit, which involved groundwater testing. Results revealed industrial solvents in the groundwater. Management reported the findings to the state’s environmental agency, and also hired an environmental engineering firm and me as the communication and change consultant.

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