Coping with crisis in your organisation

Crisis usually have a low probability of occurring but when they do occur their impact on the company can be massive. Crisis can cost a lot of money and damage a company’s reputation or image with far reaching effects. They need to be dealt with swiftly and carefully to avoid the development of emerging problems from the crisis. The increasing use of social media in recent times makes it worse because potential adversaries, disgruntled staff or customers can use it to pretty much erode your goodwill in no time.

The best way to deal with crisis is to be prepared and to have a plan of action for unforeseen circumstances. When they do happen, here are a few things you can do to cope:

Be willing to unlearn to learn
Dealing effectively with a crisis might mean letting go of old ways of doing things in your organisation. It is important to unlearn thoughts and behaviours that might make emerging problems worse and to learn from the experience. It will also be worth getting your team to learn coping mechanisms and skills to deal with problems and learn from any failures that might have caused the crisis.

Effective communication with the right people
Understanding what needs to be said and to whom is important. It’s ok (and actually advisable) to admit what’s happening but do it in a way that gives reassurance to all stakeholders, giving confidence in the organisations’ ability to handle the crisis. You don’t want to lie about it (especially if there’s media involved), but it will be useful to respond appropriately where necessary or ignore in other circumstances.

Think long term
Whilst dealing with a crisis situation, it’s important to look ahead at the overall picture and assess what effect your proposed solution will have on the organisation in the long term. Your ability to focus on bouncing back from performance difficulties will go a long way to help you overcome the challenging situation.