How to build a business ready for any crisis

According to a 2019 survey by PwC, 95% of respondents anticipated a crisis within two years. They were right—COVID-19 struck, and by 2021, only 30% felt they were crisis-ready. This stat highlights a pressing issue: while business leaders recognise the inevitability of crises, they often struggle with effective crisis response strategies. How can organisations overcome this challenge?

Below are some insights into best practices for crisis management I share with clients.

Stay honest and transparent

Transparency is more than just open communication between executives, stakeholders, employees, and customers. It’s about embedding honesty in the company’s culture, daily operations, policies, and customer interactions.

Committing to honesty starts with recruitment practices—seek candidates who value integrity and personal responsibility. Avoid deceptive advertising; ensure your marketing is engaging without being misleading.

An honest business has a significantly better chance of surviving a crisis because they leave everything out in the open, and their consistent and open communication with all parties earns them goodwill. People are more likely to give them the benefit of the doubt and allow them to respond to the crisis before jumping to conclusions.

Develop capable leaders

Effective crisis management requires visible and dependable leaders at all levels, not just at the top. This leadership should be nurtured well before a crisis arises.

Strong and skilled leaders are trained problem solvers who are focused on brand mission and committed to building a solid corporate culture. They are also ethically sound and possess excellent relational and communication skills, which helps in passing down their training, wisdom, and readiness throughout the hierarchy.

To build such leadership, provide continuous training for both leaders and employees. Ensure that staff have the technical expertise to perform their roles and the ability to identify potential crises early. Prompt reporting and proactive measures can often mitigate issues before they escalate.

Build an efficient crisis management team

A crisis impacts all areas of a business, so a comprehensive crisis management team should include representatives from all disciplines. While executive-level staff typically form the core of this team, don’t overlook the potential contributions of seasoned junior staff.

Crisis team members must understand their department’s role and how a crisis could impact their responsibilities. Despite potential disagreements, their training should enable them to reach agreements or compromises that prioritise the organization’s survival and recovery.

Taking action for future readiness

Understanding the inevitability of crises and being equipped to handle them can differentiate successful organisations from those that falter. By prioritising honesty, nurturing capable leaders, and assembling an efficient crisis management team, businesses can enhance their resilience and readiness for any eventuality.


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