The Mayan calendar ends in December 2012 and many have wondered if this signals the end of the world. One colleague jokingly asked me if her company could forgo Media Training and writing a Crisis Communications Plan in 2012, because the world may end. She has been putting off these tasks for two years. Each quarter she reminds me it is still on her to-do list, but that she neither has the time nor budget. I laugh and remind her that her company spends more time and money preparing for their company picnic than they would spend writing their Crisis Communications Plan.
So I asked, “If the world were to end in 2012, do you think your company might face a series of cascading crises leading up to the end of the world?”
I’m not proclaiming the end is here, yet I’m not saying it might not happen. So I asked, “If we are headed to a gradual end rather than a single catastrophic day, might your company experience an earthquake in February, an explosion in March, civil unrest in April, financial troubles in May and so on?”
The colleague responded with a look of doom and said, “Hum, I haven’t thought of that.”
The fact is, whether you believe the end is coming or a series of events may happen leading up to the end, or whether you just use common sense, the reality is you are always better to be safe than sorry. If you fail to plan, then plan to fail. Just look at my 2011 Top 10 List of Mishandled Crises and you’ll see that most of these could happen to any organization. The list proves how unprepared big name organizations are when it comes to a crisis. It also proves how quickly millions of dollars can be lost in a single, poorly handled crisis. Reputations and careers can vanish quickly in a crisis.
As a supporter of always being opportunistic, I suggested to the colleague that she use “the end of the world” premise as a reason to revisit the plea with her boss to make 2012 the year they finally write a Crisis Communications Plan and put their executive team through comprehensive Media Training. Plus, I suggested starting the year with a good comprehensive writing retreat for her entire communications staff, so they can begin the calendar year with a great library of key messages to use in both good times and in bad.
If you are thinking about making 2012 a great year, here are the programs I’d suggest.
Kick-Butt Key Message – A one day writing retreat for your entire communications team. I’ll teach you my exclusive Key Message Tree writing system. I promise it will change the way you write forever.
Media Training – I always suggest a strong one-day course for starters. For best results, I suggest a maximum class size of four people, which allows each person time for three strong rounds of on-camera role playing. If you have a large team of potential spokespeople, plan on adding an extra day or two.
Executive Team Vulnerability Assessment – A well facilitated 3 hour Vulnerability Assessment will usually scare the pants off of everyone in the room. They’ll quickly see how prone to a crisis your organization is and how a well written Crisis Communications Plan will be their ticket to surviving a crisis. Gather your entire leadership team together for a life changing day.
Crisis Communications Plan – In just 2 days you can have an entire Crisis Communications Plan written. My exclusive system lets you use the strength of your team to accomplish a year’s worth of work in 2 days. And there are 3 pricing options, so one is bound to fit your budget. All 3 pricing options cost less than the company picnic!
Crisis Communications Drill – Every Crisis Communications Plan needs to be tested at least once a year. An intense 4-hour drill, followed by an honest evaluation after the drill, moves you and your executives one step closer to being ready to tackle a real crisis. And remember, the presence of Social Media in your Crisis Drill makes it more realistic and complicated.
If discussing these options will benefit you, just give me a call at 985-624-9976. Managing a crisis is no picnic and preparing to deal with a crisis costs far less than any company picnic.