Monday, April 26, 2010

List your crisis stakeholders early

In every crisis, stakeholder communication must start immediately in order to maintain effective control. It is an axiom of crisis management, if not business generally, that what you say is as important as what you do, and that you do what you say you will do.

How you communicate with stakeholders will have a direct bearing on the duration, intensity, and economic cost of the crisis.

List your key stakeholder groups. Get them up on the whiteboard. Some will be enemies and some will be friends, but in order to handle their needs and expectations, you must communicate with them fast.

Without being industry specific, key stakeholders will normally include:

* employees and next of kin (first and foremost)
* senior management and Board
* unions
* customers and suppliers
* financial analysts, bankers and shareholders
* insurance companies and legal representatives
* affected and interested third parties such as local community, academics,
environmentalists and special interest groups
* media including the web
* the general public

Identify your crisis stakeholders and confirm communication strategy for each early. Proactive organisations do this before a crisis hits to get ahead of the agenda.

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