Friday, July 15, 2011

In a climate-related crisis affecting your business, who serves as chief spokesperson?

In a climate-related crisis affecting your business, who serves as chief spokesperson?
Edelman’s most recent annual Global Trust Barometer, finds that CEOs must assume that role in crisis situations. But deputies play key roles, too, and need to develop their own pitch.   

Since your CEO can’t be everywhere at once during a crisis, deputies need to be able to respond to questions from the press, the community and other stakeholders with responses to general questions and those with much more specialized content.  Here is one possible explanation:   
“You know, we are seeing more and more of these sorts of events, and we are using lessons learned to inform our crisis prevention and response plans to ensure that damage to the community, our employees, and our consumers are avoided and minimized.  For my division XYZ, this week’s experiences have taught me the following as we work to (whatever the major crisis response phrase is – restore service, deliver product, reopen stores…):

That’s a confident answer that builds trust through transparency by laying out a plan.  The three major elements to this working for your company are:
1.      A chief who trusts his deputies and vice versa.
2.      A pre-emptive internal process that gives deputies a chance to ask climate-related questions of their work and to plan scenarios about how to decrease risk should certain weather events increase in frequency and intensity.
3.      A continuous-improvement process that activates the three lessons the deputy spoke of in the heat of the crisis.
This post explores an issue dear to my heart:  True leaders are those who prevent crisis and also are poised to use a crisis to put a good idea into action. When a crisis strikes, all hands are on deck, barriers are lifted, and the opportunity occurs to leapfrog barriers and propel your company forward.  If you have your A, B, C on your wish list, the crisis lets you move them into reality.  Consider that when you are dreaming about your company’s next big break – and your own. 

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