As we can see from current global crises, there is no hiding place for the CEO in a crisis. And when the big one hits, it is the CEO who will end up facing the music.
It is inevitable the CEO will be pursued for their views and opinions. What did they do? What did they say? Every stakeholder involved in the organisation knows that the company stands the best chance of surviving if the leadership is from the top and on top.
Ensuring the cultural approach to managing a crisis must have the imprimatur of the CEO. It is they who should proactively oversee the corporate crisis management strategy that will work in a crisis situation. However, the levels of unpreparedness, inexperience and defensive reactions that still exist in many organisations generally indicate that many lessons have not yet been learned.
To see the CEO walking the talk in crisis planning is a statement of strong leadership that will direct the organisation to the high ground when the worst case scenario happens.
In the end, the buck stops at the top. In rapid escalation, the sooner the CEO leads the agenda, the better.