Communication Central: In a Crisis, Every Task Matters

It’s go time. A crisis has emerged, and you’ve got to communicate with countless individuals, assign responsibilities, and follow-up on tasks to ensure the situation is handled rapidly. Failure to do so may result in your organization being at risk.

So, how do you handle it?

In most scenarios, you likely send emails, get on conference calls, or establish meetings—but with all the back and forth, it’s easy to lose track of what is happening or allow some issues to slide through the cracks. One of the areas that sometimes receives low prioritization is documentation.

Documenting can be broken up into three phases – before, during and after a crisis. Before an incident arises – identifying steps necessary to handle a situation is critical as it allows you to approach a situation with a proactive plan of action. During an incident – recording actions and conversations ensures tasks are completed and it provides transparency across your organization. After an incident – reviewing a report of everything that was documented provides teams with detailed reports on how the situation was handled in order to make changes, if needed.

Bottom line – you need to document everything and here are three key categories to get you started:

  • Who is on the response team  Clearly define your team’s structure, roles and responsibilities. Make sure to include every employee that could potentially be involved in the situation, including those from Security, IT, legal, C-level executives, etc.
  • Your plan of action – Think of this as your check-list. You must identify the list of tasks or actions that each person or department is responsible for and the timeframe they have to complete it. It’s a good idea to have a plan of action for every scenario you can think of within your crisis management plans.
  • Who needs to be informed – People will want information on what is happening. Typically – the bigger the crisis, the more hands that need to be involved or aware of the situation. You need to not only plan a process for how personnel will be informed and what communication channel will be used, but also how often updates will be provided.
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