By Gerard Braud
The NFL crisis gets bigger in the absence of crisis management, crisis communications and good executive leadership.
Adrian Peterson and a string of other players and teams are being swept up in the crisis because as the appointed leader of the NFL, Roger Goodell failed to make the right decisions at the beginning of the Ray Rice crisis.
With each passing day, Goodell’s failure to communicate makes the crisis worse.
Expert crisis management and crisis communications involves having a plan of action that fully addresses the potential damage to an institution’s reputation and revenue. The slower an institution is to respond, the more the crisis spreads and the more damage to reputation and revenue.
What about where you work? Do your leaders have a crisis management and crisis communications plan? Do the people with the high titles possess true leadership qualities, especially in a crisis?
Most institutions fail to have a plan that would truly serve their needs in a crisis. Many have a few sheets of paper in a binder that states some standard operating procedures. These are comfort plans – they make people feel good because the word crisis plan is on a piece of paper. But experience shows that most institutions fail to write the type of deep crisis communications plan needed to handle every type of crisis they may face.
Most institutions fail to consider both emergency type crises as well as the smoldering ethical issues within the organization.
Many executives are in denial early in a crisis and throughout the crisis, as they hope and pray it will go away. Hope is not a crisis communications strategy. I believe in the power of prayer, but I also believe that your actions during a crisis can be guided by a crisis communications plan so you can eliminate the need for prayer.
The reality is, the longer it lingers, the worse it gets.
Eventually reputation and revenue are damaged significantly enough that someone at the top gets fired.
Because Goodell has been weak, the crisis has spread to other teams and players, causing sponsors to pull out or threaten to pull out.
My prediction is the NFL owners will soon be calling for Goodell to resign.
Will this kind of failure to lead in a crisis happen someday where you work? It doesn’t have to if you prepare for it with a crisis communications plan and conduct regular drills that role-play various types of crises, especially those that deal with hard moral and ethical decisions.
Good crisis communications and crisis management should never be based on spontaneous decisions and strategies in the midst of your crisis. Good crisis communications and crisis management is derived from writing strong plans on a clear sunny day.