from the editor
vortex of denial
So much about business can be explained more easily if we go back to the basics of human relationships, don’t you think? Crisis man- agement (dealing with a sudden problem) and stakeholder engagement (involving people who care) are no different.
During a crisis, most communication mistakes happen
right out of the gate because people don’t want to even
admit that there’s a problem. As with most situations,
denial is not our friend, and neither is fear. They go
hand in hand and have led to the destruction of many
a company. And when denial is no longer an option,
blame rears its ugly head.
But let’s say that you are with an enlightened organization. A crisis has happened and there you are, able to
jump in and deal with it honestly. At this point your
prospects are much better than those people stuck in
the denial/fear/blame vortex. Still, you now need to
“own” the crisis to be able to control it. There’s no
doubt that it’s really hard to cozy up to that idea. Delivering nice news is just so much more pleasant.
As a communicator, you know that admitting mistakes, apologizing and explaining your plan for going
forward are things you must do if you are to turn any
crisis into an opportunity. That’s where your stakeholders come in. They care, and that means that they will
listen to you. Forgiveness is one of our finest human virtues. Your stakeholders will accept your apology and go the extra mile if you show them
that your organization has the right combination of humility and confidence for getting past the crisis—and perhaps even coming out stronger on the other side. In the pages that follow, our experts will show you
how to involve stakeholders as your best support before, during and
after a crisis.
“During a crisis,
most communication mistakes happen
right out of the gate
because people don’t
want to even admit
that there’s a problem.”
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