Deon Binneman, the international reputation management consultant, has released version 2.0 of his Crisis Leader Toolkit, a self-study do–it–yourself guide on how to plan to respond to the reality and communication aspects that a crisis or emergency brings. The toolkit now includes the full course materials for a two-day crisis training course that can be used to equip internal teams with essential crisis management and crisis communication knowledge and skills.
Many organizations do not have the capacity to have a fulltime crisis manager position but that does not absolve them of the necessity of planning for dealing with the hand of fate. Today stakeholders of an organization expect an organization to be ready to deal with all calamities as well as the unique communication challenges that these situations bring.
The following questionnaire provides a small example of the questions that are prompted by questionnaires in the toolkit to test your organisation’s capacity to respond to crises:
1. Have you developed a clearly defined crises management plan with adequate action and communication responses?
2. Have you made a ‘worst case list’ recently of what could happen to your organization?
3. Have you a written plan in place, up to date and circulated and accepted by all stakeholders?
4. Have you tested your plan, including a dry run of the preparedness of your plan?
5. How long will it take you to enact your plan, from the moment a crisis takes place until your plan ‘kicks’ in?
6. Does your plan contain a plan of action for what would happen if, for example, a government agency forces you to do a recall of a certain product due to safety reasons? (Just a typical scenario);
7. Have you appointed and trained spokespersons (and backups) that will communicate with all stakeholders if a crisis should occur?
8. Have you arranged and got approval for CEO's actions and statements in an emergency? (Also called Holding statements);
9. Have you assigned organizational spokespersons and alternatives on a 24-hour, 7-day duty?
10. Have you benchmarked your emergency and crisis communication procedures versus competitors in your industry?
11. Have you had your spokespersons trained in media interviews and other communication, including relevant social media techniques?
12. Have you prepared alternate plans, with added specifications for each category?
13. Have you legally complied with all the necessary legislation and reporting procedures that can impact on the organization in time of crises?
14. Have you clearly defined and identified the circumstances that deserve the label of problems, disaster, emergency, issue, crisis or catastrophe?
15. Have you assigned crises designation decisions to a specific person or group of persons?
16. Have these people received specific and adequate training so that they will know what to do?
17. Have you created a policy manual, a how-to-manual on developing and implementing a crisis communication plan and circulated it to all concerned, and have they verified their understanding of the contents? (Does your plan include a formal social media policy for the organization?)
18. Have you determined the competencies needed to communicate effectively in a crisis e.g. public speaking, meeting skills, press conference question handling, writing skills and planning strategies?
Scoring: If you answered yes for every question, congratulate yourself. If you answered no, your organization is at risk of damaging its good reputation through lack of preparedness for unplanned visibility caused by potential crises. Do something about it.
The Crisis Leader Toolkit contains:
- A step–by-step guided workbook for creating a plan;
- Detailed questionnaires and checklists to prompt thinking processes whilst planning and preparing response plans;
- Various guidelines and tip sheets ranging from stakeholder communication templates, examples of holding statement to dealing with the media tips sheets;
- Handy examples, templates, flow charts and forms;
- A complete two-day training course that can be customised for internal training and information sharing use with the Board, executives and staff.
- There are mock crisis plans covering emergencies, crises, product recalls as well as social media crises in the kit.