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Getting the basics right when a crisis breaks – Stage 3

Missed Stage 1 on how to get the basics right when a crisis breaks? Read it here or read Stage 2, here.

The last in our three stage series, Mark Dailey and Matthew Moth look at the importance of returning to normalcy following a crisis.

Stage 3 – Return to Normalcy

The timing of this is hugely is important. Too soon and you heighten expectations only to see them dashed leading to the dreaded follow-on ‘competency’ crisis. Too late and it has the same effect. Clear communication and managing of expectations is the key. Along with the remedial work itself.

Key actions: stress testing the new systems before moving back to a ‘business as usual’ stance; asking for feedback and ratification that enough has been done before returning to normalcy; clearly communicating that the special provisions that have been in place are ending; beginning to position the crisis within the overall track record of the firm (giving it some perspective); renewing commitment to better practice; keeping the three key audiences fully apprised of milestones met.

What’s new today: key “mistakes” live on via YouTube, Facebook Live, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter in a way they never used to. And because of the blogosphere – it’s not over just because you say it is.

What doesn’t work: declaring victory too quickly. Rather like George Bush and his now infamous “mission accomplished” press conference about Iraq – the hard work often begins in living up to a return to normalcy claim.

What normally goes wrong: poor managing of expectations; moving too quickly to Stage 3; not communicating the improved future commitment; expecting the crisis to be “solved” as a communications issue (it lives on as a boilerplate – so handling has to be good)

Key communications deliverables: here’s what we’ve done; here’s our commitment to making sure this doesn’t happen again; here’s how we’ve changed and how we do on this issue overall.

The world of crisis management is changing and we have to change with it. But spookily enough, the fundamentals are tried and tested – they just need to operate on a higher plain.

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