Why problem resolution is only half the battle for effective crisis management

February 10, 2014 by Jonathan Hemus

As the Environment Agency comes under pressure to address serious floods across England, they also face criticism for their lack of effective crisis communication.  It’s the dual challenge facing any organisation in the frontline of a major crisis: resolving the core issue and communicating effectively with affected stakeholders.

Working with technology, manufacturing and operationally focused businesses on crisis management planning, I frequently observe their tendency to fix the core problem and leave crisis communication for later.

It’s the natural response of people whose day to day focus is based on logic, fact and process. Indeed, in a totally rational world, their crisis management approach would be entirely appropriate.

However, businesses also have to deal with the perceptions and emotional reactions of a wide range of stakeholders. Organisations which fail to address these perceptions – and quickly – are just as likely to suffer long term harm as those that fail to address the underlying problem.

In an earlier blog we noted how TSB ticked both boxes following a service outage: expansive communication by its CEO and PR team combined with a resolution of the IT issues which caused the problem.

Businesses populated by technicians, scientists, analysts or engineers should take note: problem resolution is necessary to emerge from a crisis with your reputation intact. But it is rarely enough on its own.

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