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The First 24 Hours:

How Unprepared Companies Can Respond Quickly in a Business Crisis

Imagine being in the place of a corporate communications professional who wakes up to find his office on the front page of the newspaper or being talked about on national morning shows. Time to reach for that crisis response plan. Unfortunately, for many companies the question is, "What crisis response plan?"

So what does a company do at the onset of a potential crisis without an existing plan, or even one that seems to have been written in case of a dinosaur attack?

Do The Right Thing...and Hurry!

The companies that come to that conclusion in the first day, rather than the first week, stand a far greater chance of protecting their long-term reputation. A delayed response is perceived as a lack of concern.

Companies need to break through three key barriers within their business before responding to the crisis.

Who on the leadership team will be part of the decision-making process? A well-organized infrastructure must be established to handle a multitude of media inquiries and quickly communicate urgent messages to employees, customers, legislators and other key audiences that need to be briefed on the crisis.

There is a well-understood reluctance to be the one who states the threat and a common reaction is to downplay the threat. To respond quickly, leadership needs to accurately size-up the situation and demand the fullest attention needed to respond.

A crisis situation is a defining moment for a company's reputation and a test for their cultural integrity. Leaders should be prepared for time-consuming negotiation that goes to the core of the organization's value.

If you have not prepared a crisis response plan, there are actions you can quickly take to manage a situation that is spiraling out of control. Our "10 Immediate Steps to Respond to Crisis" is available by request.