Handling Crisis

Crisis is an event or a revelation, allegations, or set of circumstances that threatens the reputation and integrity of a company or an individual.

For Your Information: it does not even have to be true – it simply has to be public, or have the potential to cause harm. It inevitably occurs in any company that primarily deals with a vast market of customers across the globe. Whether it is caused by a disgruntled customer’s complaints brought to the press, or just plain negative publicity caused by competitive detractors trying to discredit your company.

Ten Simple Rules to Remember When Engaged in Crisis Management

1. Anticipate Issues. Stay ahead and be ready and prepared with answers to reporters’ questions or anybodies’ questions on issues pertaining to the challenges or event.

2. Get Out in Front. Tell the truth and say it before the media or someone finds out about the issue or discusses the issues or their repercussions in front of the public or before it can be misrepresented.

3. Act; Don’t React. When you react you are immediately in a defensive position. Tell the people ahead of time what you are doing, what will happen, or how you are dealing with the problem, tell them what they should or can expect.

4. Be Visible. Do not hide even if you do not have anything to say, be available. When you are invisible, the media or reporters and anyone with concerns will think you are hiding because the bad news is true.

5. Tell the Truth. This is the only rule of rules. Always tell the truth. The truth is easy you do not have to defend it and you will always be consistent. Lies you will have to remember and the truth will always surface and come out anyway.

6. Have a Spokesperson representing you or your company always briefed and ready. Do not keep the people who will talk to the media in the dark. Have people you trust and who know, “make sure they know the difference between knowing and saying.” You can never BS your way around crisis communication.

7. Talk Directly with Your Customers, Staff, Managers, Directors and Shareholders. You have to make sure whoever is integral to your business is fully informed of the crisis and bad news from you and not indirectly from the media.

8. Express Empathy and Concern. The most important rule next to honesty, if you express genuine concern for others, even if you are in a crisis you will be most probably forgiven. People will understand that you are human after all and are bound to make mistakes and will be more forgiving than anyone defending their mistakes and hiding the truth.

9. Take Responsibility. Taking ownership of a problem, especially as a leader is one of the secrets to defusing a crisis. You apologise and make amends and move on to correct the wrong.

10. Don’t Delay. You can shape the discussions and use the media to transmit messages, even if it is not the final solution to the crisis. Delays can create a secondary crisis.

Please take a moment to ponder. Crisis is an opportunity for change, manage it and turn it into an opportunity for growth and success, Do not run away… running from crisis is defeat.

Crisis is part of growth and development either with an individual or a company.


Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director, QI Ltd

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