Even when crises are not the fault of the organization involved, they can be devastating to their overall image. Businesses that have suffered a serious crisis face an uphill battle to recover. Without the leadership of experienced individuals who can steer their organizations through bad times, such recoveries may be impossible.
Today’s business leaders need to demonstrate strong crisis leadership in all three phases of the crisis-planning cycle: anticipation and prevention, mitigation, and recovery. Business leaders who can harness these skills are best-placed for long-term success in even the most adverse circumstances.
The ability to anticipate and prevent a crisis is perhaps the most important skill that a business leader can possess. Many crises can be effectively anticipated by leadership teams that create a strong and open culture within their organization, and that carefully map and pro-actively manage risks. Open organizations in which leaders encourage the reporting up of issues and problems are often best able to prevent and mitigate their escalation to a crisis.
To anticipate and prevent crises, business leaders must have a solid understanding of the climate in which they operate. That means identifying and addressing potential problem areas well in advance of a crisis. For instance, a company should recognize that layoffs may spur disgruntled employees to attack the company by whistle-blowing, via social media campaigns, hacking, or other methods. Such leaders can communicate that they are ready to deal with whatever business threats may arise from inside or outside their organization.
Every executive leader should also be able to mitigate the impact of a crisis. Being able to analyze a situation and its risks with limited information, map internal and external stakeholders, anticipate escalation, show empathy, communicate,...
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