Issues management matters: how to anticipate a crisis
Former US senator and diplomat Mike Mansfield once said, “The crisis you have to worry about most is the one you don’t see coming.”
So how can you plan for a crisis that you have never considered before?
This article covers the first step in crisis management: anticipate. In order to properly prepare for a crisis, you must first define what a crisis looks like for your business and where it can stem from.
Evaluating the possible sources of a crisis within your business is the best place to start. This could be anything from product, technology, employees, operational, regulatory. The list goes on. Oftentimes all of the above examples can be the source of a crisis depending on the company and industry. While discussing the possible sources of a crisis within your business, think about the level of risk and probability of an issue occurring in that particular area.
Once the possible sources have been established, the next step is to measure the impact. A crisis is guaranteed to come with a reputational impact, and it is important to prepare for and mitigate this. Human impact is always the most significant impact to prepare for, followed by financial impact.
If you are new to crisis management, try this quick exercise to set the foundation on how to anticipate a crisis.
Step 1: List the potential sources of a crisis within your business.
Step 2: Match each source with the potential impact that crisis could have on your business and stakeholders; human, financial and reputational.
Step 3: Determine the probability of each crisis occurring.
Step 4: Evaluate any existing action plan that is in place to deal with a crisis.
It is important to remember that although there may be no immediate danger in front of you right now, that does not mean there isn’t a potential crisis lurking in the background ready to bare its teeth. Don’t be left scrambling to halt the damage when one finally arrives.
If you would like to see some examples of the good, bad and ugly ways to handle a crisis, take a look at our previous article Success and failure in crisis management.
Depending on how significant a potential crisis could be, it is important to have an action plan in place to prepare and respond appropriately. Stay tuned for upcoming articles that will cover how to prepare for a crisis and the most effective response strategies.