2019: Prepare for crisis

In 2019, you should finally get that crisis planning done, because your job depends on it.

Despite what the PR industry says, a reputation crisis rarely creates long-term harm to a business (see long-term impact).

This year, research has convinced us that the real impact of a crisis is on the jobs and reputations of individual people caught up in it, particularly CEOs, Directors and senior executives.

That’s right – the cost of a crisis is your job. Most companies recover sales within three months. But US research shows that only a third of CEOs ousted after a crisis reach the same career level again.

You need only think of what happened in any reputation crises in New Zealand this year – they almost always ended in someone losing their job. And it’s not about performance; it’s a tactic that in itself can bring a reputational crisis to an end.   

Crises can occur across a wide range of events – from natural disaster, to workplace accidents and injuries, to business disruptions, to reputation challenges.

They can happen to any organisation – especially when social media allows everyone their fifteen minutes of fame, and when people are quick to get upset, and to challenge organisations.

Organisations need to make crisis readiness a regular part of their operation – not an occasional day, a plan shelved, or winging it because the internal culture or brand feels resilient.

Preparing ‘for the worst’ doesn’t have to be hard or overly time-consuming, and in fact having an overly complex plan is often counterproductive.

In 2019, give some thought to crisis readiness. There are jobs and careers that depend on it.