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Learn the key ideas of the book by James E. Lukaszewski

Lukaszewski on Crisis Communication

How to flawlessly manage a business crisis

Not all business problems are crises, but all crises are problems that management must be able to solve in the best way, and as quickly as possible. Crisis communication in particular plays a fundamental role in minimising the risks linked to the reputation (and the very existence) of a company, which is why it must be coordinated effectively and promptly. Crisis communication expert James Lukaszewski shares a wealth of advice gathered over forty years of experience, in his book, Lukaszewski on Crisis Communication.

Lukaszewski on Crisis Communication
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Being unprepared for a crisis can significantly worsen the situation

Not all problems that arise in a company are crises, but all crises are problems that need to be solved as quickly as possible: a corporate crisis is, by definition, a negative event that occurs suddenly, and has the potential to ruin the reputation of a company and its top management, interrupt their work and, in the most dramatic cases, jeopardise the company’s very existence. Crises vary in nature - from a natural catastrophe to an operational accident, from an activist attack to human error, as well as CEO, manager, or even employee, scandals - but they all have two factors in common: they put the company’s reputation and existence at risk, which is why they must be managed and resolved as quickly as possible.

To this end, the two crucial factors that a company must never lack are preliminary preparation and awareness: many companies do not prepare for the advent of a potential crisis, and therefore find themselves defenceless when it does happen, leaving the company's fate is at the mercy of the media, the accusations made by the victims, and legal threats.  

This lack of preparation and the tendency to underestimate the likelihood of a disaster happening are precisely what render crisis management so disastrous: an unforgivable mistake, which the public and the press are not likely to forget, especially when there are very serious consequences. The situation is only worsened when corporate spokesmen do not show any remorse, perhaps even denying or trying to play down what happened for fear of negative repercussions for the company and their careers, hiding their emotions and seeming to lack empathy, so as not to be considered weak, or fighting back and insisting that they are in the right, regardless. All of these types of behaviours are wrong, and end up further aggravating the situation, exacerbating relations with the media and victims, and causing damage to the company’s reputation that is difficult to shake off in the future.

Fortunately, there are methods and rules that you can follow to manage a corporate crisis in the right way, minimising the risks and impact of negative events. First and foremost, you need to be aware: sweeping problems under the rug doesn’t work - the CEO and management need to be made aware of any potential problems there may be, to try to solve them before they blow up. 

When the executive floors have a complete picture of what is going on, they are able to create management plans for possible crises, ensuring that they are ready to spring into action when an incident or a negative event should happen. The speed of your response is crucial when it comes to resolving corporate crises, and the only way to make sure that they are dealt with swiftly is to investigate and prepare.


The key ideas of "Lukaszewski on Crisis Communication"

Being unprepared for a crisis can significantly worsen the situation
The first step in managing a crisis is acknowledging the victim dimension
You need a crisis communication plan to manage a crisis
It is essential that you manage interactions with the media through a press conference
Do not forget the new rules of social media in a crisis
One of the most common crises for large companies is how they manage activism
Take-home message

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