Opportunities to protect your company and its employees from the perils of nature are limited. However, you can control the company’s behaviour relative to employees, customers, suppliers, the government and the media and make your company less vulnerable, according to the Harvard Business School Press in the book Crisis Management: Master the Skills to Prevent Disasters. Follow these tips and you may never have to manage a crisis.
- Be a good corporate citizen in good times as well as bad. If you enjoy high standing with the public, you’ll be supported rather than attacked during a crisis.
- Keep up collaborative relations with the media. If you are open, candid and helpful to the press during normal times, the media will treat you more gently during periods of crisis. If you habitually ignore or act with hostility to the press, a sharp-penned reporter or commentator will likely skewer you the first time your company has trouble.
- Be highly ethical, trustworthy and professional in your relations with the press, employees, customers and suppliers. When a crisis hits, they will be sympathetic and inclined to help.
- Avoid technological breakdowns by keeping computers and other systems up-to-date, and attack problems quickly.
- Avert labour problems during crunch times by scheduling contract renewals for times of the year when business is slow.
- Be alert to signals of impending crises. Don’t ignore problems. Instead, confront and resolve them before they escalate.
- Have a succession plan for all key positions. You can avoid some human-resource-related crises if you have qualified people capable of stepping into any potential vacancy.
- Don’t cut corners when it comes to ethical and legal requirements. Doing so will eventually get you into trouble, causing a personal crisis for you and a financial or public relations crisis for your company.