Joel Dandrea, Chief Executive Officer, SC&RA
As both jobs and equipment get more complex, and the world becomes more interconnected, the threat of a company crisis grows along with it.
Whether it’s an equipment malfunction, a natural disaster or weather-related incident, a technology breakdown or even a workforce failure, if crane companies don’t have a crisis-management plan in place, they’re asking for trouble.
According to a recent study by PwC (one of the world’s largest professional services firms), within a crisis, companies must ground their response in facts – and get those facts quickly. All the more reason to get out in front with an organized plan. In doing so, however, don’t hamstring yourself trying to prepare for every conceivable scenario. Instead, plan for the top three to five threats you likely have to worry about within your business today.
The next step? Back it up with a crisis playbook, defined by PwC as a strategic cross-functional response team and workforce training.
Company incidents and crises
Considering the above-mentioned research, shocks come in two main forms: incidents and crises. An incident can be described as an operational disruption, often stemming from accidents or natural disasters. Companies aren’t usually held accountable for these unless they’re poorly handled. But if poorly handled, in any number of ways, they can intensify into a crisis – which can impact a company across all sectors, disrupt operational practices, destroy reputations and affect everyone and everything involved, including the bottom line. However, proactive, intelligent crisis management can not only keep an incident from becoming a crisis, but it can even pinpoint opportunity.
To go along with their research, PwC spotlighted a list of “Five Ingredients to Emerging Stronger” from a crisis.
Prepare your teams: First, if you don’t have a crisis plan in place, make one. If you do have a plan, conduct an assessment of your readiness – an in-depth review of your current plan, and everyone involved with it, to check that it’s still relevant and identify gaps.
Legitimize fact finding: When an organization is in the midst of a crisis, what it needs most is solid facts. What happened? Why? How could it have been prevented? Whose actions contributed to it? What is the current status so that strategic decisions can be made quickly? Establishing these facts means taking a cold, hard, objective look inside the business.
Enable collaboration: Three key participants are at the heart of any crisis response. First, the public relations and communications teams. Second, the legal and regulatory teams. Third, the operational response teams. As the crisis unfolds, the ownership “baton” can move between the three teams on a daily or even hourly basis. But whoever’s holding it at any given time, they must all work in sync.
As well as being coordinated across its teams, a company’s messaging during a crisis also needs to be authentic. This means everything the business says and does must be aligned with its brand values, and tailored to the various stakeholders who’ll influence its future. The communications strategy should also incorporate a clear understanding of all the audiences it needs to reach.
Learn from mistakes: Learn from the crisis to make sure you respond better next time. After weathering a crisis, any organization can feel tempted to put the whole experience behind it and never think about it again.
This is a big mistake. Examine the root causes, and study the methods by which to more effectively respond in the future: what did you learn, and how can you improve moving forward?
The last thing any of us wants or needs is a company crisis. But that certainly doesn’t guarantee that one won’t happen in the future. So it’s on us to be prepared. And that requires groundwork, testing, research and respect for the unexpected. Then, should a threat emerge, we’re not just ready, but we’re confident, agile and equipped to handle whatever comes our way.