Thursday, July 25, 2013

Preparing to Do the Right Thing

Wisdom from the Crisis Guru # 997
From Chapter 4, page 98, of “Lukaszewski on Crisis Communication, What Your CEO Needs to Know About Reputation Risk and Crisis Management” by James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA

4.1 Preparing to Do the Right Thing

When bad things happen to good organizations, the people in charge often stall, delay and deny, doing everything except those very actions that most people would recognize as the “right” thing to do. By considering the behaviors with the most potential to affect the organization directly, we can identify a list of weaknesses that those in trouble tend to exhibit before, during, and after a crisis occurs. The list is important in preparing for a crisis because it is those reputation-redefining behaviors for which you must be prepared and for which those in your organization must be trained to help management overcome.
  1. Lack of empathy (meaning arrogance).
  2. Communication delay caused by management timidity or hesitation, and the lack of legal or administrative preparation.
  3. Failure to anticipate a problem or the failure to anticipate the degree of angry community response.
  4. Lack of coordination among groups within the organization and between the organization and its outside agencies and resources.
  5. Lack of clarity about the respective roles key decision-makers are expected to play.
  6. Failure to communicate quickly and directly with those most affected, especially employees.
  7. Inconsistent messages or no messages.
  8. Failure to forecast changes in situations or outcomes.
  9. Overestimate readiness.
  10. Underestimate community or government concern or unwillingness to cooperate.
  11. Lack of training and familiarity with established procedures and techniques for handling these emotional challenges, circumstances like embarrassment, humiliation, angry neighbors, or defeat.
  12. Insufficient commitment and on-site leadership to respond quickly, compassionately, and conclusively.

James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA is the author of Lukaszewski on Crisis Communication, What Your CEO Needs to Know About Reputation Risk and Crisis Management, available now at

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