Crisis can happen at any time, arising from a single devastating event or a series of unattended issues. Either way it comes about, crisis, once underway, presents a serious threat to a business’s core objectives, reputation – even its viability.
Taking a lifecycle approach to crisis management
That’s because crisis, by definition, is multilayered and multidimensional. In order to properly prepare for, manage, and recover from one, companies must take a crisis management lifecycle approach, continuously improving their processes and methods. But for that approach to work, companies need to invest in the right crisis management software. Not quite sure what it takes?
Similar to the product lifecycle, most formulations of the crisis management lifecycle at least start with a few basic stages: pre-crisis, response, and post-crisis. Focus during the pre-crisis stage is on prevention and preparation. The goal being to reduce the known risks that can lead to crisis.
When teams can’t, though, crisis ensues and an appropriate response to the critical event becomes necessary. That response might end the crisis, but it won’t prevent the crisis from reoccurring, which is the ostensible purpose of the final, post-crisis stage.
During this time, companies will have the opportunity to look back and reflect, developing post-mortems to understand what went wrong and what can be done better (in the future) to ward off the likelihood of another crisis. This stage is also when companies begin fulfilling the commitments they made while the crisis was still raging.
While helpful for relatively immature corporate crisis programs, this beginning, middle, and end-framework can be limiting for more seasoned practitioners. Responding teams, in particular, will recognize that crisis stages don’t always break down so nicely. Instead, taking a more strategic, cyclical lifecycle approach might be warranted; unfurling as follows:
- During the first, build up stage, teams see hints of a potential crisis brewing, often on social media. At this point, teams should be looking for certain repeat messages that foreshadow crisis.
- By the impact stage, that earlier trigger has now morphed into a full crisis. Teams should expect to get the most media scrutiny at this point. But it’s not over yet…
- Because during the chronic crisis stage, the media usually shifts the script from what’s happening to who’s to blame. Meanwhile, a crisis-plagued company is still suffering through the effects of impact, which can be as significant as physical restoration.
- Eventually, teams will get to the resolution stage when the crisis-hit company is up, running, and (hopefully) out of the media glare. But if this stage doesn’t include deep analysis and investigation, the crisis-hit company is basically just biding its time, waiting for the next crisis to strike.
The role of the crisis management system
Working within the confines of a more strategic, crisis management life cycle framework requires sophisticated corporate crisis management technologies, however. Those tools help teams and senior stakeholders increase organizational resilience in the face of the unexpected.
But therein lies the rub. While most companies do prepare for crisis by procuring crisis management software, not all of those technologies actually enable teams to take advantage of best-practice techniques and frameworks.
Indeed, the technologies that many companies use to handle crisis are often inadequate. For instance, even advanced, but desktop-only, crisis management software would prove ultimately futile for response during the impact stage, which often occurs when people are not at their computers.
So, what’s needed? Teams need a flexible, mobile-firendly corporate crisis management solution to help cope with every stage of the crisis lifecycle, as well as tackle lower-level critical issues before they bubble over into crisis.
When considering a corporate crisis management solution, remember, that system needs to offer some key benefits. To learn what those benefits are, read our buyer’s guide to purchasing corporate crisis management software.