Crisis Communications: What every CEO should know


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Prof. Alesa Lightbourne, Assistant Dean at S P Jain Center of Management shares steps every CEO should know during a crisis or a panic situation.

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Crisis Communications: What every CEO should know

  1. 1. Crisis Communications:What Every CEO Should Know<br />Alesa Lightbourne, Ph.D.<br />Assistant Dean, Global BBA Program<br />S P Jain Center of Management<br />
  2. 2. Agenda<br />Things you probably already know (review)<br />Things you probably DON’T know<br />Action list for better preparedness<br />
  3. 3. You Already Know<br />You must have a plan before the crisis<br />Crisis management plan ≠ crisis communications plan<br />Plans take a lot of time and expertise<br />
  4. 4. Best Practices<br />Keep plan updated (study recent crises)<br />Assign alternate members of team<br />Allow for cultural differences<br />Practice both onsite and “away” crises<br />Mandate media training for all involved<br />Do practice run<br />
  5. 5. Using Internet – a MUST<br />Google and Japan earthquake<br /><br />
  6. 6. Great Press Mileage<br />
  7. 7. Source: <br /><br />
  8. 8. Tools<br />AirAlertTM – connect crisis comm team members, operations, external audiences, dedicated website<br />Hootsuite – manage Twitter, Facebook, Linked In<br />Backtype, Social Mention – monitor online conversations using keywords <br />
  9. 9. Bottom Line<br />NO<br />
  10. 10. YES<br />
  11. 11. Things You Can’t Know<br />Who<br />What<br />When<br />Where<br />How<br />How you (and others) will personally react…<br />
  12. 12. Communication Styles<br />Yourself<br />Team members<br />Others (media, victims, regulators)<br />
  13. 13. Four Basic Styles<br />Aggressive<br />Passive<br />Passive-aggressive<br />Assertive<br />CEOs think they are … <br />assertive<br />
  14. 14. But In a Crisis, You’re Really …<br />
  15. 15. Or …<br />
  16. 16. In Times of Panic<br />We revert to behavior of parent<br />This is irrational / we can’t help it<br />We can use knowledge of types to maximize strengths of team members<br />
  17. 17. Let’s Find Out More<br />Take assessment<br />Fill out answer sheet<br />Add columns<br />
  18. 18. Four Types<br />G + D = Driver<br />O + D = Expresser<br />O + I = Relater<br />G + I = Analyzer<br />Most people combine several types<br />We can be different types in different circumstances<br />
  19. 19. Driver<br />Commander<br />Gets job done<br />Decisive, risk taker<br />Good at delegating<br />Fearless<br />Results-oriented<br />Norman Schwarzkopf<br />
  20. 20. Expresser<br />Talkative and optimistic<br />Impulsive, full of ideas<br />Values enjoyment<br />Spontaneous and flamboyant<br />Loves to brainstorm<br />Impulsive<br />Oprah Winfrey<br />
  21. 21. Relater<br />Relationship-oriented<br />Easy-going, likes steady pace<br />Harmonizer<br />Good listener<br />Dislikes contrary opinions<br />Concerned about others’ feelings<br />Mother Teresa<br />
  22. 22. Analyzer<br />Rational and idea-oriented<br />Highly organized<br />Cautious, logical, thrifty<br />Quick to think, slow to speak<br />Values accuracy and being right<br />Plans thoroughly<br />Alan Greenspan<br />
  23. 23. Activity<br />3 blessings of your nature<br />3 curses of your nature<br />3 things you’re likely to do in a crisis<br />
  24. 24. Apply your knowledge<br />Who makes the best:<br />Media spokesperson<br />Budget controller<br />Victim relations person<br />Overall decision maker<br />What potential dangers arise from each?<br />
  25. 25. Action Items<br />Revisit your communication crisis plan<br />Add Internet aspects<br />Assess communication styles on your team<br />Predict responses in crisis<br />Adjust responsibilities accordingly<br />
  26. 26. resources<br />Alessandra & O’Connor. The Platinum Rule. New York: Warner Books, 1996.<br />Bernstein, Jonathan. “The 10 Steps of Crisis Communications.”<br />Lukaszewski, James. “Seven Dimensions of Crisis Communication Management.”<br />Simpliflying. “Five Steps to Successful Crisis Management for Airlines in the Age of Social Media.”<br />Valtat, Aurelie. “The Ash Cloud, Crisis Communications & Social Media – the Eurocontrol Story.” Interview posted at, Apr 30, 2010.<br />
  27. 27. Crisis Communications:What Every CEO Should Know<br />Alesa Lightbourne, Ph.D.<br />