How managers fare during and after a high-level crisis is impacted by how well have planned for the crisis. Those who have an executable action plan in place are the ones who can react quickly, manage rumors, and respond to victims and stakeholders sincerely and adequately while keeping their organization afloat, according to crisis management expert Laurence Barton.
In his new book, Crisis Leadership Now, Barton examines:
- The characteristics that define a true crisis
- Proven strategies to help you understand and respond to early warning signals
- Ways to mitigate threatening situations
- How to effectively communicate your decisions in a timely manner to employees, shareholders, customers, and other constituencies
In the Crisis Leadership Forum Report, Alan McCurry, an executive with the American Red Cross, echoes the importance of planning for a crisis. His experiences as a commander on a Navy submarine helped him understand the interplay between established plans and revising in the face of reality.
“We trained a lot, and we trained primarily so that we could ensure that the routine became automatic,” said McCurry. “I knew every time the general alarm went off, the ventilation was shut down, that the watertight doors were shut, that the automatic breathing systems were broken out so that I, as the captain or the leader of the disaster, now could focus on what’s different in the event.”
According to McCurry, having a practiced and executable plan in place for potential crises frees leaders up during a crisis to react and respond to the unanticipated events that are present in all crisis situations. “If we can get to the point that people really do think ahead about what is going to happen—the planning—then the leaders can focus on what’s unusual or different.”