David Silverberg reached out for some additional information about how companies react to a crisis. Having worked with National Coal on its preparation planning, we were happy to connect David and Daniel A. Roling, the former CEO of National Coal to discuss the great work we did.
Excerpt: “Mr Roling, who left National Coal before it was sold to Ranger Energy Investments in 2010, adds: “We had everything planned right down to where we would hold a press conference, and how we would set it up.
“In crisis planning, you are looking to create an effective auto-response, so that everyone heads in the right direction, without too much deliberation.”
From the extensive work Pietryla PR did with National Coal Corp. to the small crisis response projects we do now for current clients, the common thread is upfront planning. Some of it happens simply because we’re on the case — experience fuels a lot of the upfront expectations in a quick-thinking situation. But, we often walk our clients through a series of what-if scenarios to start building a response persona that meets their needs. Not every situation or client is the same.
While we tend to personally have a more public tactical approach, many of our clients that are public companies or financial institutions aren’t able to be as public with their reactions. It’s best if we align with them upfront so nobody trips over their feet during an actual crisis.
Quickly Ask Yourself
When you are prepping your company to react to a crisis, there are a few areas where you must collect your unfiltered thoughts. Even if you only have 5 minutes (and with or without the benefit of a complete crisis plan), do this exercise for yourself. It even works in micro-situations like responding to a negative comment on social media. Here are your thought-starters in order of importance:
- What caused this?
- What is happening right now? Identify immediate consequences
- Who knows and who needs to know?
- Make a list of all available information as well as corresponding stakeholders
- What information needs to be obtained or validated?
- Identify the most urgent aspects
- Make a list of next steps
Keeping your wits about you is the first step in responding to a crisis. The second step is relying on a plan.
We’ve assisted many of our clients in all manner of public and internal responses to high stakes crisis response.