As you can imagine it’s been an incredibly interesting process.
Perhaps coming as a surprise to some, one of the most important components of the crisis management strategy is the way the organisation operates. Responding well in the aftermath of a crisis is essential. But you’ll never kill the media story if, as people dig deeper, things start to smell.
Talk Talk’s chief exec, Dido Harding, handled the media very well when the business was hacked. But however good the initial response, it’s pointless if the inevitable scratching of the surface reveals a company that’s cavalier with customer data.
So one of the things I’m looking at with this company is policies and procedures; the ones people adhere to, not the ones in the company handbook. If they’re the same, great. But often (though not in this case) they’re completely different.
The documented process or policy is probably thoroughly thought through. It covers every base. It makes it clear what people should do and it’s almost certainly filed alongside other similar policies and processes.
The problem is people rarely connect with long, carefully crafted documents. After a cursory glance at the induction manual they almost never look at them again.
The key is not so much to focus on what to do, but how to ‘be’. Get the media strategy right and you’ll be able to cope with the immediate crisis. Understand how to ‘be’ and you’ll be resilient in the face of the inevitable scrutiny.
This is where the power of one page comes in.
To underpin the way an organisation really operates, the brand, its values and the policies and procedures designed to bring it to life need to be distilled into bite size, edible chunks.
That means understanding the real breadth of each issue and concentrating that knowledge into essential elements that feel right for those within the business. Then your values can live and breath. Then people ‘be’ not do.
When the crisis hits, you can manage your media response confident you’ll stand up to the sort of scrutiny you hope never to face.