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TSB CEO demonstrates the value of leadership in crisis management

January 27, 2014 by Jonathan Hemus

Given our reliance on technology these days, it’s no surprise that IT failure should be a high priority for crisis management planning. Despite this, the crisis communication response of many organisations to a technology problem is often too slow, too corporate and too infrequent.

That’s why I was so impressed with TSB’s reaction to IT problems affecting its ATMs and debit cards last weekend. In particular, its CEO Paul Pester demonstrated great empathy and leadership by using his own Twitter feed to supplement the messages being communicated by the company’s press office.

Better still he didn’t simply communicate general messages, but instead interacted directly with customers to empathise with their problems and explain the current status.  Both his messaging and tone of voice were spot on.

This personal involvement was appreciated and commented upon not just by affected customers, but also by the media.

Imagine the response if, instead, the company and its CEO had remained silent.

Mr Pester’s leadership in a crisis shows how a personal touch from the CEO can take the sting out of a major issue, even for a sector which is far from popular.

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