Blog – The Six Stages of Crisis for Communication Planning – Stage Four: The Management Phase
This is the fourth of six essays that explore each phase of a crisis, identify specific areas of concern and provide manageable solutions. Download the first essay HERE, download the second essay HERE and download the third essay HERE.
The fourth stage of a crisis is the management phase. Organizations must gauge their responses according to the progression of the crisis. The crisis either will move toward resolution or will get worse as deepening layers of complexity emerge. While there is no set time-frame for any of the stages of a crisis – this is period, which tends to be more prolonged, and it is the period that is most frequently thought of as the crisis management period. Hence, it is also one of the most comprehensive periods for communication effectiveness cutting across a wide diverse range of functions, needs, objectives, target audiences and communication modalities. An effective response plan requires communication. Even the best, well-informed and creative decision will not succeed if it is not communicated effectively or understood. Crisis management communication has been recognized as a core emergency response function by the Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Homeland Security. Some of the suggestions in this paper have been adapted from public domain recommendations and guidelines by these authoritative agencies.
Planning for communication needs during stage 4 of a crisis requires that everyone on the response staff understands the importance of communication for overall crisis management success. As you develop your plans for stage 4, meet with planners and ask them how they think better communication with employees, suppliers, partners, the public, partners and stakeholders would help accomplish their mission. Engage administrators with straightforward objectives for communication in stage 4. It is imperative to understand that “communication” in an emergency is more than public safety radios or television interviews of your public information officer. Rather, effective stage 4 communication involves dynamic two-way exchanges with a variety of important communication partners and constituents. Explain to leadership how the overall response and recovery operation benefits through an investment in communication planning.
After the initial response activation during stage 3, there should be a transition to communication for the ongoing management of the event and its consequences in addition the immediate responses that occurred at the onset. These aspects of your communication plan should be addressed in communication planning for Stage 4 of the crisis. The management phase is where the various traditional “crisis management communication” functions are carried out. Interaction with employees, customers, vendors, suppliers, local or national government officials, regulators, governing boards, stakeholders, investors, neighbors, news media relations, etc. It is during this stage of the crisis that crisis managers will need to delegate some aspects of communication to those who have specialized skills and relationships (e.g. Public Relations or Public Information personnel). Some aspects require deliberate advanced planning (where are you going to hold media briefings or how to manage the website updates are (and other social media communication)?…. read the full article here.