The Issue Is Not Ebola, It’s Loss of Control

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Ebola preparedness for companies, especially publicly traded ones, is not about cleaning protocols or social distancing. It is about brand and reputation. It is about significant, permanent loss of property value, and potential permanent impact on multiples.

LossControlRiskDo you have a business crisis-risk strategy? Most professionally run businesses have emergency response plans, crisis management plans and crisis communications plans, but are they actionable? Do they include a social media plan to monitor and control what is being said publically? Have messages been developed to communicate with every constituent? Who is the trained spokesperson? Who has the authority to speak/post on behalf of the business owner? Who controls the actual social media accounts? Have messages been preformatted?

The issue is really not one of Ebola. Ebola has brought the communicable illness issue to the forefront, but the question is really one of control. Who controls your brand? If yourcompany property is identified as “dirty”, how will you rehabilitate the location in the eyes of its occupants, their customers and the world?  Are you sure your business won’t become the “Columbine” of the school world, or the “Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas” of the hospital world or the “Legionnaire’s disease” of hotels? As a matter of dollars and cents, the Dallas hospital has seen a 25 percent drop in revenue as a result of the negative publicity. Handled poorly, the consequences will be permanent.

If one of your businesses is “diagnosed” as having actual Ebola exposure, you will lose command and control. Your state and local Health Departments and Federal officials will take control. They will determine site access and other issues. Media will swarm.

In all the crises Firestorm® handles, it is this loss of control that most businesses are unprepared for.

The question you should ask yourself when reviewing your plans is, “Have we examined all the vulnerabilities and threats, and are we prepared to handle the consequences?” Consequence management is the “best practice” that most organizations miss.

Conducting a gap analysis of existing plans is a wise first step. Very often, interviews with key staff can provide a good indication of the preparedness culture of your organization.

OutofControlVery often, in dealing with organizations, we get asked, “What is the ROI of all of this planning and preparation?” Maybe more important, however, is the question, “What is the RONI?” That would be the return on no investment, when something goes wrong. The cost of managing a crisis, unprepared, is an order of magnitude higher.

More important, the brand and reputation damage can sometimes be catastrophic. Analysts and others will never be convinced that your team can handle the next crisis, and there will be another one.

Learn more about what your business can do now, today.

Due to the overwhelming need for Crisis plans that describe more than the ‘what’ to do in a crisis, Firestorm has developed a schedule of affordable Advanced Learning Sessions that help attendees understand the ‘How’ to in a crisis.

The first of these sessions for Business, addresses the unique challenges that companies face from emerging communicable illness threats. This two-hour Webshop provides companies with specific direction on what a company needs to do and say before, during and after a communicable illness threat. Register for your company now.


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