Learning Crisis Management at SPT

No doubts, nowadays Crisis management specialization is in demand. Pandemic, Wars, Disasters an many other reasons for calling Crisis Management specialists. We discuss much all this topics at LEENjoy and even are inviting to interview.

That is why information from School of Positive Transformation in extremely demanded now.

Life Coach Training Institute— Crisis Management

I have learned more about crisis management when I took up an online life coach certification program. Fortunately, I was able to use the things I learned when the COVID-19 crisis took a toll on almost every business in the globe. Here I can share with you a handful of things that I learned and have read about crisis management to hopefully help you too. The following is a famous crisis incident that we’ll go back to later in this article:
In late 2013, an IT security blogger broke a huge story: Target’s IT systems had been hacked, exposing the personal data of up to 110 million customers. Target issued a statement the following day and posted a video with more details on its website. The company apologized, explained how the hack had happened, and offered free credit monitoring for affected customers.

What is Crisis Management?
Types of Crises
Stages of a Crisis
1. Warning
2. Risk assessment
3. Response
4. Management
5. Resolution
6. Recovery
Crisis Management Strategies
Steps in Managing Crisis
Crisis Management Skills
Crisis Coaching— Approaches to Guide Leaders
Going back to the Target Crisis

Large or small, even the best-managed businesses may be hit by an unexpected public relations crisis. These can be recalls of products, a civil lawsuit, or some other unforeseen disaster. Crisis management is the strategy for dealing with such crises at the corporate level.

What is Crisis Management?
Crisis management is the identification of threats to an organization and its stakeholders, and the methods used by the organization to deal with these threats. Due to the unpredictability of global events, organizations must be able to cope with the potential for drastic changes in the way they conduct business.

In the life coach training institute, I learned more about how crisis management often requires decisions to be made within a short time frame, often after an event has already taken place. To reduce uncertainty in the event of a crisis, organizations often create a crisis management plan.

Types of Crises
According to Hubspot, the following are the different types of business crises that you need to identify before making a crisis management plan.

Financial crisis: This happens when a business racks up debt because they lose value in their assets as there is a drop in demand for their product or service.

Personnel crisis: This happens when an employee committed personal or work-related misconduct (maybe in our outside the workplace) which can be classified as unethical or illegal. Some personnel crisis can be mitigated by the help of a coach or by offering certified coaching programs and interventions.

Organizational crisis: This dilemma is experienced when the business experiences a negative impact due to taking actions that wrongs their customers. Examples are: giving out personal information to others and the exploitation of customers.

Technological crisis: This is experienced mostly when servers go down, software crashes or another technological system stops functioning properly. This crisis can cause a business to lose large amounts of revenue, make customers question their reliability, or tarnish their reputation.

Natural crisis: Pandemic, hurricanes, tornados, floods, and winter storms are all examples of natural crises that have the power to damage or completely ruin a business’ office space (or any area owned or used by a business). Depending on a company’s location, they might be more prone to various natural disasters occurring throughout the year.

Stages of a Crisis
After identifying the type of crisis, you also need to know about the different stages of crisis as you create a crisis management plan. Note that these stages happen during a crisis and this can help you plan how you should respond to the crisis at different points in time.

Though the life coach training institute, I learned about the six papers written by Robert Chandler, a professor at the University of Central Florida and crisis management researcher, on how communication plays a major role in combatting the crisis. The following are the stages of how crisis management and communication can go hand in hand.

1. Warning
Many organizations may completely forget or bypass communication during the crisis but as Chandler has discussed it is important to give precautions and heighten awareness during a crisis.

2. Risk assessment
In the moments after an incident occurs and/or is reported, a core team of crisis management decision-makers assembles to determine how to handle the situation. This team activates the organization’s emergency response plan. Communications are primarily geared toward assembling team members, apprising executives and officials of the incident, and advising local law enforcement and other similar organizations of the situation.

3. Response
Once the emergency response plan is activated, crisis team members begin to notify the “masses” about the incident. Communication during the Response Stage focuses on making constituents aware of the incident, providing instructions, and calling first responders into action.

4. Management
After the initial response to the incident, the crisis moves into the Management Stage. During this phase, the crisis gets better and moves toward resolution or gets worse with deepening layers of complexity. Organizations must respond differently according to the progression of the crisis. A significant percentage of communication occurs during this phase as organizations provide regular status updates to their various audiences, change or add to previous instructions, control rumors, conference with leadership and responder teams, and course-correct as needed to respond to changes in the situation.

5. Resolution
Once the crisis has been resolved and is drawing to a conclusion, crisis team members communicate that resolution to all audiences in the form of all-clear alerts and messages of reassurance.

6. Recovery
During the Recovery Stage, the focus is on healing and getting back to normal. Communication often revolves around post-crisis counseling, a return to pre-crisis policies and operations, and rebuilding accomplishments.

Crisis Management Strategies
Crisis management coaching can be effectively governed by appropriate strategies according to the type of crisis at hand. Leaders and executives are bound to experience different crises throughout their work. I learned from my online life coach certification program that the specific type of coach for these certain people is called an executive coach or management coach.

According to Finfer and Tamir (2019) approximately there are three types of crisis:

A real crisis that the executive/leader knows and is aware of.

A real crisis that is not known to the executive.

A crisis that the executive believes is present but is not really present or does not exist.

In any type of crisis, an executive or management coach can offer significant help by guiding leaders with the help of two elements:

Emotion- the coach helps the leader or executive to be aware of the crisis, which can be regarded as an initiative to manage it

Rationality- the coach can help the executives and guide them in creating plans to address and resolve the crisis.

The following are some simple scenarios of the three types of crisis together with the strategy appropriate for them.

A real crisis that the executive knows and is aware of.
Scenario:

Joseph is one of the Level 3 Software Engineers and was assigned to take on a big project together with a new partner of the company. When the company decided to implement the organizational restructuring that they have been putting off for years, he was shocked that his colleague which was hired just a few months after him was promoted to Level 4 even though this certain colleague has never handled a big project as him.

Deeply disappointed, he began to ponder about his future at the company and was thinking of quitting.

Crisis management strategy:

This is where a coach can come in handy. Using the two elements mentioned about we will look into possible solutions for this crisis.

Emotion: Since Joseph is well aware of the crisis, he now must first recognize the emotions brought by it. For sure he will be really upset about it and he must realize that it’s not bad to feel troubled or dismayed about the situation because he has every right to be upset about it.

Once he has acknowledged and is aware of his emotions a coach may now guide him to set out plans to move forward from the situation.

Rationality: Now comes the part that they will try to build a plan of action to gain control of the situation. If Joseph continues to feel disheartened, he may feel powerless and paralyzed.

But as he tries to make a small step he can then opt to try the following contingencies:

still do his best and make himself available or apply for higher-level positions according to his project management experiences and
create meaningful leverages or relationships with the senior leaders in the company
“The best-laid plans build in contingencies. It is worth discussing what can go wrong with the initial plan and layout the alternatives. For example, if a favored power broker relationship does not bear fruit, the executive should identify others he or she can reach out to. Developing a plan and its permutations are empowering.” (Finfer &Tamir, 2009).

A real crisis that is not known to the executive.
Scenario:

Allen, funded by a high-profile company, ran a start-up business that although was innovative and well-thought-of was lacking in conversions and not gaining much profit.

He is confident that everything is well in its place and is positive that although his progress was slow, it would soon catch up when the right opportunity came. But the board and CEO were losing their patience and were dissatisfied with the turnout, and they gave him a coach to help him see the situation from their perspective.

Crisis management strategy:

Allen is not aware of the big crisis that he is currently in a coach is a significant help that he might just need. Allen might be looking at a situation from his level of perspective and timeline but as his funds are from a high-profile company, he’s not aware of the big impact that his slow progress is affecting them.

The coach can help Allen by giving him a 360-degree assessment or evaluation and content from the CEO and board members which is a compilation of factual and concrete information that can help him look into the bigger reality that his start-up is related to.

Allen was shocked by the content of his 360 reports, but it also gave me a new perspective of the things that may have been slowing down his progress. Although the report took a tough blow on him it made him aware of the bigger picture and has helped him to take necessary actions to rebuild the confidence of the funding company in his start-up.

A crisis that the executive believes is present but is not present or does not exist.
Scenario:

Everyone knows that Elijah was one of the promising young prosecutors of the firm. As she was presenting to the seniors his latest case, the CEO challenged this rookie’s latest recommendation, and which thus made him feel doubt and as if he has lost the favor of the senior partners and the CEO.

Crisis management strategy:

Elijah sought the help of a coach. The coach then helped him look at the level of the realness of the crisis by talking to Elijah’s division manager about his performance.

If the coach then confirms that there is no predicament regarding the CEO’s act of challenging the rookie’s recommendation, he/she can now talk to Elijah and dismiss his bothering thoughts.

This now brings two actions that the coach and Elijah may take:

First, the coach and Elijah may create a plan and put into perspective that these kinds of actions from seniors, CEOS, and other heads are normal and happens in the workplace.
Another is that they can explore Elijah’s reaction to being critiqued (which is normal in corporate life) that can make him feel disappointed. This way they can try exercises that can help him tolerate criticism and gain comfort, and find opportunities for growth in them.
Later in this article where we go back to the Target crisis, you will learn how important and how awareness of a crisis plays a vital role in management.

Steps in Managing Crisis
Every organization is vulnerable to crises. Crisis management should not merely be reactionary; it should also consist of preventative measures and preparation in anticipation of potential crises. Effective crisis management has the potential to greatly reduce the amount of damage the organization receives as a result of the crisis.

A certified coaching program can help leaders and executives learn more about giving out help to the other executives of the company in times of crisis.

The following steps can help you limit potential damage in a crisis:

1. Anticipate
Prepare.
Be proactive and have an intensive brainstorming session to go through all the potential crises that could occur at your organization.
The simple rule of thumb is to accept Murphy’s Law, “What can go wrong, will go wrong.”
Some situations are preventable by simply modifying processes, but this assessment process should lead to the creation of a crisis response plan.

2. Create a plan and test it
To ensure the messages contained in the crisis response plan are delivered effectively and with credibility, it needs to be tested through:

Training
Simulations
Media training for those who could be giving statements and interviews
The crisis response plan should be tailored for your organization, and it should include both operational and communications components – in a crisis, what will you do and what will you say. Most importantly, taking these steps will help ensure you can carry out your response plan in a real-life situation, not just in theory.

3. Identify your crisis communication team
A small team of senior executives should be identified to serve as your organization’s crisis communications team. Ideally, the CEO will lead the team, with the firm’s top public relations executive and legal counsel as his or her chief advisers, after that the size of the team depends on the needs of your business.

This team should set the communications process for your business. Avoid getting caught out when a staff member, who does not know the whole story, gives a quote to the media or posts on their social media, because they didn’t know what to do (or not to do). Make sure a clear process is created and communicated to your staff, channels can include newsletters, employee handbooks, and intranet.

4. Establish notification and monitoring systems
Knowing what’s being said about you in traditional and social media, by your employees, customers, and other stakeholders often allow you to catch a negative “trend” that, if unchecked, could turn into a crisis. Likewise, monitoring feedback from stakeholders during a crisis allows you to accurately adapt your strategy and tactics. Furthermore, your organization should have the means to reach the internal and external stakeholders as soon as possible.

5. Communicate, communicate, communicate
The first rule of crisis management is to communicate. Early hours are critical and they set the tone for the duration of the crisis. Be as open as possible; tell what you know and when you became aware of it; explain who is involved and what is being done to fix the situation. Be sure to correct misinformation promptly when it emerges. Remaining silent or appearing removed could enrage the public and other stakeholders.

6. The death of the super injunction
Super-injunction prevents publication of information that is in issue and also prevents the reporting of the fact that the injunction exists at all. Some companies still adhere to this practice in their organization, but this legal route is not too recommended to take.

While crisis experts assert that the legal route is still a valid approach to take, from a reputational point of view, it can sometimes do more harm. Taking legal action can be required at times, but be warned it can cause reputational issues if it looks like you have something to hide or if it looks like you’re being greedy. Also, be aware that the legal route takes time. Time is not on your side in a crisis.

7. Post-crisis analysis
After a crisis, formal analysis of what was done well, what could be done better next time and how to improve various elements of your crisis response plan. This is another must-do activity for any crisis communications team. As the crisis comes under control, a company should examine how effective its plan was during the crisis and the impact the incident has had on its employees, brand(s), and reputation. If any of those three have taken a hit, a company may need to take steps to address them.

Crisis Management Skills
Peter Sondergaard from the Sondergaard Group listed down the following leadership skills which he has observed from successful leaders who have gone through stressful situations and crisis:

Empathy: Empathy is putting yourself in the situation of the person(s) to whom you are communicating. Be it is your client, the people that work for you, suppliers you may work with, and the team you are on (meaning your peers).

Show empathy for their situation. Be humble about the situation. Lead by example, even small things for certain people. The fact that you are trying will be appreciated now and later.
Truthfulness: In situations of crisis, you don’t know everything. Be clear about what you know AND what you don’t know. It will become abundantly clear to everyone rapidly when you are making things up, and you will then lose trust.

Be humble, transparent, and admit what you don’t know. By doing so, you will allow everyone to understand the basis of the data and the fact-base of your decisions. Following up when more information or choices become available will be your next step.

Clarity: Being clear about your actions but through brevity, not using complicated language, and when in doubt about a binary decision, making a decision is often better than doing nothing.

Clarity also means being clear about the objectives or plans for your situation. The plan or objectives subsequently need to be communicated and available to everyone. Equally, the timeline, or currently best-known timeline for your actions and strategies, need to be clear to everyone.

Prioritization: There will always be many great ideas and actions to take. If you try to do all of them, you will never achieve any of them. Prioritization is about getting to the few genuinely impactful actions that drive results within your selected timeframe.

Prioritization also allows for more precise communication because the organization can only, on average, maintain a focus on no more than three priorities.

Risk mitigation: Constantly think about risk scenario’s but don’t let this slow down your decision-making. Making a mental note of your risks, prioritizing them, and using them for every subsequent decision you make, will allow you to be agile but risk-aware. And where needed risk-averse.

Empowerment: It is critical to empower your team or organization. In a time of crisis, you should not take all decisions. While you are accountable, a distributed approach of empowerment allows for more rapid decision making and decisions that are in the context of the receiver.

Understanding the positive impact of giving others accountability while you remain involved is critical in times of crisis.

Agility: Organizational agility is critical, and therefore as a leader, demonstrating the leadership skill of agility is paramount. Everything we have learned from the software development world of agile translates to business and is particularly important during times of crisis.

You have to be agile in the way we make decisions. When you fail, and you recover fast. Where needed, you construct teams to work as multi-functional teams to solve problems that are small continuous weekly, or even daily projects. And you plan to change rapidly based on new information. Constant change doesn’t mean you don’t need a plan; a plan is essential; you merely need to be ready to change that plan—display agile leadership.

Communication (storytelling): Communication is the most critical aspect of a crisis. Frequent, clear, and succinct communication is vital. Equally, the repetition of messages and usage of different channels of communication ensures everyone hears the message. Remember just because you heard it the first time you said it, doesn’t mean the audience had the opportunity to listen to it the first time.

Execution: You have a requirement to execute. Assuming you have displayed all the attributes above, you still need to execute. To execute should be about what you do best, what you know. The reason you in the role you are in whether you are responsible for product, service, HR, Cash Management, Sales in a particular region, digital marketing, you name it, is to execute. So, execute for the near term with an understanding of the strategic scenarios of the long run.

Cost Management: Lastly is to understand cost management and, as importantly, the financial model of the organization. During a time of crisis, decisions need to consider the economic impact on the organization in both the short and long term. They equally need to be taken in the context of or at minimum recognition of the financial model of the organization. In my experience, the better managers and leaders understand the cost aspect of decisions, and the financial model of the organization, the better the decisions taken are.

Crisis Coaching— Approaches to Guide Leaders
Leaders and executives may find it hard to ask for help during a time of crisis since they believe that they have had enough experience and has the right skills to take on this current problem on their own.

But in this article are three approaches to help the leaders consider seeking a coach’s help:

You should remember that giving them a persuasive argument and sales pitch is not won’t get them hooked. Most of the time leaders/executives would react negatively and may not be that willing to hear your pitch. So don’t give them that, instead you can try the “That’s exactly why…” approach:

“That’s exactly why we should spend a few moments right now. While things seem out of control at the moment, by spending even a few minutes talking about what’s going on, you might find you get more energy and have ideas to get more done in less time. Would that be okay with you?”

A second approach is simply to ask permission:
“Well, while we are on the phone together anyway, would you find value in talking about what’s going on — even for a few minutes?”

However, the best approach I have found is to coach without letting on that you are coaching.
Listen.
Let them vent.
Use appreciative, high-level questions.
Encourage them to keep talking.
Empathize — but authentically and without coming across as performing “check-the-box empathy.”
Although the above approaches can be effective, the most important gist is that a coach needs to be an effective and helpful listener.

Just being engaged with the leader — listening, reflecting on what you are hearing, and letting them lead the conversation — makes as big a difference as what you say. Going back to the steam boiler image, this approach allows the client to vent steam from the boiler. It creates room for more productive ways of thinking. It also tends to reduce stress.

If executives are however adamant to ask and seek help from coaches outside their company the company would therefore benefit from giving an online coach certification program to their executives so they may be effective coaches to their associates in times of crisis.

Going back to the Target Crisis
Although Target immediately issued a statement and means of settlements, there were a few key problems with Target’s response.

First, it responded before its management was fully aware of the scope and cause of the problem. This forced Target to later walk back some of its statements, including the number of customers whose information was hacked. In the eyes of the consumer, it made Target seem unprepared, unprofessional, and even a bit suspicious.

Second, Target posted the message from its CEO to its website and then later realized it was not garnering many views. That was because most consumers were taking to social media—not to the website—to gather information, air complaints and interact with the company.
Lesson here for Target, and others is:

In the response to a crisis identify the appropriate channels to reach the affected stakeholders.

You can see how being a big company is not an enough guarantee that they can handle a crisis well on their own. As I took up a course in the life coach training institute, it gave me a better perspective and more confidence on taking on my company through this global crisis we are on.

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