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  • Writer's pictureYolanda King Stephen

Navigating Through Crisis: 6 Essential Steps to Govern Your Team's Approach

Updated: Feb 2

In crisis management, preparation is essential. When I spearhead the development of crisis strategies for organizations, a key component of our approach started with the creation of an incident and issues playbook.

This playbook creation is a collaborative effort that includes both internal and external stakeholders. It contains stakeholder contact information, meticulously crafted scenarios for diverse crises and a systematic checklist of tasks. The objective is to establish a framework for organizational composure amid a crisis.

Another component is proactive readiness through scenario rehearsals. It’s similar to how firefighters practice fire drills so they are prepared to face a fire. Just imagine the fire alarm's loudly piercing sound as firefighters swiftly gear up, slide down the pole, ready their trucks and coordinate their efforts in a matter of minutes before the fire truck exits the station. So in, our teams must familiarize themselves with their roles and responsibilities, anticipating the dynamic nature of crises.

In the realm of stakeholder communications during a crisis, a disciplined checklist should help govern your team’s approach. 

  1. Identify key audience segments and discern the channels for communication.

    • Sidenote - have a backup person on standby who has access to these channels and passwords.

  2. Recognize and understand the diverse needs of various stakeholders.

  3. Customize messages to be clear, concise and transparent. 

  4. Communicate when you will communicate. Establish clear timelines for communication. This demonstrates an organized and responsive approach.

  5. Exhibit flexibility and adaptability to maintain message consistency, align with the organizational brand and resonate appropriately with distinct audiences.

  6. Verify facts to ensure the dissemination of accurate information. This safeguard’s organizational credibility. 

If you’ve been in the position to hit ‘send’ on an all-stakeholder message, your heart was probably racing. You read through the message multiple times, checked for spelling errors and accuracy. You even read it backward to ensure the message was correct. Believe me, I know!

This structured methodology can help ensure, even amid the unpredictability of a crisis, your communication remains poised, strategic, and aligned with the principles of transparency and credibility. And it can help #communicators ease their beating heart when hitting ‘send’. 

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