“If You’ve Seen One Crisis, You’ve Seen One Crisis”

Here at FGS Global, we were lucky to attend a virtual fireside chat with our Co-Chairman Paul Verbinnen and Sidley’s Thomas A. Cole on their new book, Collaborative Crisis Management: Prepare, Execute, Recover, Repeat, based on long careers of advising companies in crisis from both communications and legal perspectives.

Here are some nuggets we gleaned about crisis management from the conversation, moderated by our own Lisa Green:

  • The best crisis plan is really a file with the numbers of people you’re going to call. It’s critical to make sure you have the right people in the room.
  • A collaborative culture goes a long way. If this culture already exists in the company, that gives you a huge advantage. If not, the stress of the crisis will exacerbate existing friction.
  • Preparation is everything. Know what your mission critical risks are and be prepared for them. Have basic plans in place for how you’ll reach stakeholders in a crisis.
  • Keep your enemies close. It’s as important to know what critics are saying as allies.
  • Response is everything. Crises are inevitable, but how you handle them makes all the difference. Most people will give you a pass if something happened, but they won’t forgive you if you bungle the response.
  • Figure out what it is you want to do. Until then, people will see through your words and criticize everything you say. 
  • Thanksgiving is the holiday most likely to be interrupted by a crisis, according to both of our authors. Who knew?
  • Stay vigilant. Some people think the sky is always falling, others are slow to recognize a crisis. Sometimes not responding to small brushfire can lead to the conflagration.