Identifying early signs key to crisis management, says Slateford Associate

"Crisis Management"

Senior Associate at Slateford, Jess Alden, recently stressed the significance of identifying early warning signs to prevent corporate reputation crises. Successful crisis management, according to Alden, often relies on an ability to recognize threats early on. These warning signs might come through unusual customer complaints, negative press, or issues highlighted by employees. Proactively addressing these signs can help companies mitigate risks and keep their reputation intact.

Alden also talked about the importance of open communication within a firm. She believes that a conducive environment that encourages employees to freely report any potential issues or red flags can do wonders for a company in times of crisis. The establishment of robust monitoring and response systems can further enhance a company’s preparedness to handle such situations effectively. She asserted the value of a company’s reputation and advised firms to include reputational risk in their strategic planning process.

Crisis, Alden explained, often come preceded by indicators. She used the example of the global pandemic that was predicted by scientists years before it actually took place.

Preempting crises with early detection, says Slateford Associate

The role of governments and organizations in taking such warnings seriously can be pivotal in managing and mitigating harm from such crises.

The Senior Associate introduced a ‘zone’ concept that enables firms to manage crises even before they become public knowledge. This concept basically involves identifying potential threats, evaluating their impact on the company, and implementing preventative actions. This strategy essentially acts as a defense mechanism, protecting businesses from crisis-induced damages.

Companies, as advised by Alden, should optimally utilize internal resources such as HR, communications, and legal departments to proactively diagnose early signs of potential crises. She stressed the importance of effective cross-departmental coordination and communication in managing a crisis well. Regular training, she suggested could enhance awareness and understanding of potential crises in different departments.

To promote transparency, Alden suggested the principle, “What would an innocent company do?” This, she believes could transform a crisis into a temporary setback. Aiding her argument for higher accountability was the recommendation for businesses to publish their annual reports and financial statements. Such transparency, Alden argues, can improve trust among shareholders and stakeholders, enhancing corporate credibility.

Alden concluded by emphasizing the importance of thorough journalistic investigation. She cited an instance when her firm alerted a tech company of a Department of Justice inquiry based on journalistic findings. An innocent company, to Alden, is one that addresses its issues with integrity and transparency.