From communications planning to post-event management, we explore how planning can help remove uncertainty during crisis events, like COVID-19.
Headline risk seems to have risen in financial services. Twelve years ago, as the financial crisis unfolded globally, the sector found itself on the front page every day — we all wondered which firms would be crippled or fail. We felt that again as the sovereign debt crisis played out several years later. News reports were peppered with the latest fine or settlement levied against a firm. Arguably, crisis management seemed relatively reactive in that context — no one firm stood out as managing crisis well or poorly in the industry.
Now, with the continuing spread of COVID-19, we may be on the brink of another economic crisis. So the enduring question remains, what can we learn from firms that have experienced a major crisis — the good, bad and the ugly?
The biggest learning can be summarized by the ubiquitous motto: Be prepared. It sounds trite, but it could not be more on point. During a crisis, it’s too late to do what you should have done in advance. Every minute spent figuring out who should be responsible for a decision, how to phrase a press release, or which stakeholders should be contacted and in what order (e.g., board of directors, regulators and clients) takes away from a firm’s ability to focus on the specifics of a response.