Crisis management is the communications management function used to convey accurate facts and data to the general public and to specific publics during a crisis situation in order to prevent or minimize negative publicity that could adversely affect the success of the company.
Crisis management involves identifying a crisis, planning a response to the crisis and confronting and resolving the crisis. Crisis management can be applied in almost any field of endeavor, but it is most commonly used in international relations, political science, business and management.
Many school districts have developed crisis response guides, which identify potential situations such as fires and other disasters, bomb threats, confronting unwelcome visitors, violence (and threats thereof) and the death of a student.
In general terms, the theory of crisis management can be divided into crisis bargaining and negotiation, crisis decision making, and crisis dynamics.
In a crisis, always sit down and think hard about your decision, and for as long as needed (or allowed) about ways in which you can resolve it.
It has to be you. that applies even if somebody else has to carry the burden of action - how you brief, direct and control the other or other will vital to the outcome.
Crisis management planning
Certain preliminary measures need to be taken to prevent a crisis, and are usually accomplished through the creation of a crisis management plan. The plan helps to project likely outcomes and seeks to address how to effectively deal with those outcomes, should they occur.
Decisions that have the potential to turn into a crisis should be outlined, minimizing the likelihood of their ever occurring. "Worst case scenarios" should be outlined as well, and a contingency plan for dealing with them should be fully explored.
If prevention has not been successful in a crisis, then the following six steps should be undertaken immediately:
- Do an objective assessment of the cause(s) of the crisis.
- Determine whether the cause(s) will have a long term effect or whether it will be a short term phenomena.
- Project the most likely course of events.
- Focus all the most capable people (including yourself) on activities that will mitigate or eliminate the problem.
- Look for opportunities - there could be a "silver lining".
- Immediately act to guard cash flow.
In any public relations crisis, act immediately to prevent or counter the spread of the negative information. Containment may require intense media activities. Use every media available to you to provide a counter argument or question the credibility of the original negative publicity.