Many people can operate with direction in a crisis, but a lot struggle with the actual decision making. They get overwhelmed by all the scenarios that can unfold and how to respond to them.
Terms like ‘forward thinking’, ‘business as usual (BAU)’, ‘reputation management’ are all part of the lexicon of crisis management, but the ‘decision making’ process is seldom there.
With the disaster season stepping up a notch as we approach summer, here are some reminders to help with your decision making. It is also worth looking at the New York Times article by Steven Johnson (@stevenbjohnson), the author of the forthcoming “Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most.”
Most importantly from our point of view, he talks about stakeholder mapping which is an integral part of our Comms Matrix software for communication management.
As Johnson says in part, no tool provides solutions to the decisions you face: “They are prompts, hacks, nudges. They’re intended to help you see the current situation from new perspectives, to imagine new possibilities, to weigh your options with more sophistication.”
Pros and Cons – the old chestnut, but still worthwhile: list all the key elements affecting the incident and then consider the pros and cons of your communication response. This will help you determine a course of action and hopefully make better decisions.
New options – outside the box thinking: take the first option that comes to mind, then look at all the others that might affect this option. The one with the least issues will be the right decision. (for more thoughts check out Prof Paul Nutt, Fisher College of Business, Ohio State University and Professor of Management, College of Business, University of Strathclyde.
Storytelling – look at how each of your possible decisions will unfold as you explain them and all their ramifications; then seek to address each of them. The best will emerge.
Scenario planning – much like storytelling, but list each of the scenarios that are before you on a risk matrix and then weight them against your mitigation process; the lowest weight should be the preferred decision.
Values – examine the Values of the organisation against your decisions and rate them (scale of 1 to 10); choose the one with the highest rating. Aligning Values to any decision or public announcement is an important element to reputation management.