Crisis Management Hits Crisis At Trump Tower

Let’s face it, things “will” go wrong even with the best-designed systems and processes. (Murphy’s Law + Law of inevitability). All we can do is our best and make sure that we have addressed all potential risks in a crisis management plan in order to mitigate/ eliminate such risks.

Before you read on, my caveat:

This article is not in anyway intended to be critical of any individual (especially POTUS). The intention is to articulate “Crisis Management”.

Perhaps you are aware that a flat caught fire on the 50th floor of Trump Tower (New York) on the 7th April 2018. Sadly, one man was killed and six firefighters were injured.

“Crisis Management” is a critical organisational function.

It is an important element in Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Management Systems. We’ll cover Management Systems more in future articles.

A crisis is an event that is going (or is expected) to lead to an unstable or dangerous situation. A crisis can affect an individual, group, community or whole society (Ref: Wikipedia).

I recall very early in my career getting trained in crisis management and media.

The training was very straightforward in that we pretend there is a crisis (e.g., fatality on a process plant). I get interviewed by the press and the whole session is recorded. I then review how I coped with the situation by watching the playback.

It was such a revelation when I watched the playback.

What I noticed was I set off thinking “I am not going to say too much” (typical Corporate mentality) and ended up blubbering nonsense. After several attempts, I began to live the scenario, albeit it was role-playing and started to develop “empathy”.

Now, I am not saying that you have to develop a “polished” approach to these situations. I would never want anyone or any organisation to suffer these horrible circumstances, but unfortunately “#~1t” happens. What I am saying is, ask yourself “what if that was me” or “what if that was a member of my family”.

Some of the best “tips” that I can offer includes:

  1. Avoid saying “no comment”. This doesn’t help anyone nor the organisation because it leads to feelings of distrust. Something to hide?
  2. Avoid bull#~1t, making things up as you go along and jargon. “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW”. And, if you are unsure about what should be in the Crisis Management Plan, a Gap Analysis is always a good start.
  3. “Don’t Panic – Keep Calm”. This is easier said than done but remember if you are the leader and you panic, what message are you sending?
  4. Make sure you follow up and also make yourself available at all times.

Just some quick share of tips based on my experience and it’s important to not put Crisis Management into crisis.

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Controversial – maybe?

Thought provoking – definitely.

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