Is Your Business Crisis-Ready?

  1. Is senior management committed to communicating consistently openly and effectively during good times and bad?
  2. Have you identified the most likely crises that may occur in your organization?
  3. Do you have a crisis management/ response team?
  4. If you answered yes to #3, do team members know their roles and responsibilities in a crisis?
  5. Do you have a formal crisis communication plan?
  6. If you answered yes to #5, has the plan been exercised or updated in the past year?
  7. Do you have up-to-date contact lists for all key personnel, vendors, customers and other stakeholders with whom you may need to communicate?
  8. Do you have a process in place to document every aspect of a crisis response?
  9. Do you have procedures to centralize/manage information flow during a crisis?
  10. Do you monitor media coverage (print, broadcast, web, social) of your company?
  11. Do you know which stakeholder groups need ongoing, follow-up communication about the crisis, its aftermath and the organization’s recovery?
  12. Do you have a process to evaluate the organization’s crisis response in order to make needed changes for next time?

Each of these questions represents one of several important components of an effective crisis management plan.  If you have more ‘yes’ answers than ‘no,’ congratulations!  You are on your way to being well prepared for the inevitable issues and crises that will arise in the course of doing business.

If you answered ‘no’ more often than ‘yes,’ it’s time to sit down with the management team and talk about taking action to prepare the organization to weather the crisis that is going to happen. We can help.

Deb Hileman, CMP, is president and CEO of the Institute for Crisis Management, a crisis management training and consulting firm based in Denver, Colo. She has more than 20 years’ experience managing difficult business issues and a variety of crises, from natural disasters to criminal investigations and humans behaving badly. Her work spans public and privately held companies and non-profit organizations in a variety of industries. Known as a voice of calm in the midst of chaos, Deb has earned a reputation as a trusted strategist and advisor to C-suite executives, operations and other organizational stakeholders. She has successfully managed strategic communications for business issues including natural disasters, labor strikes, criminal prosecutions and federal civil investigations, workplace violence, executive malfeasance, investor litigation, wrongful death and patient abuse investigations, mergers, acquisitions and corporate bankruptcies, among others.