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A CMP provides lists of key contact information, reminders of what typically should be done in a crisis, and forms to be used to document the crisis response.A CMP is not a step-by-step guide to how to manage a crisis.
Preparation involves creating the crisis management plan, selecting and training the crisis management team, and conducting exercises to test the crisis management plan and crisis management team.
Both Barton (2001) and Coombs (2006) document that organizations are better able to handle crises when they (1) have a crisis management plan that is updated at least annually, (2) have a designated crisis management team, (3) conduct exercises to test the plans and teams at least annually, and (4) pre-draft some crisis messages.
Ultimately, crisis management is designed to protect an organization and its stakeholders from threats and/or reduce the impact felt by threats.
Crisis management is a process designed to prevent or lessen the damage a crisis can inflict on an organization and its stakeholders.
Prevention involves seeking to reduce known risks that could lead to a crisis.
This is part of an organization’s risk management program.The pre-crisis phase is concerned with prevention and preparation.The crisis response phase is when management must actually respond to a crisis.Table 1 lists the Crisis Preparation Best Practices.The planning and preparation allow crisis teams to react faster and to make more effective decisions.Refer to Barton’s (2001) Crisis in Organizations II or Coombs’ (2006) Code Red in the Boardroom for more information on these four lessons.A crisis management plan (CMP) is a reference tool, not a blueprint.Barton (2001), Coombs (2007a), and Fearn-Banks (2001) have noted how a CMP saves time during a crisis by pre-assigning some tasks, pre-collecting some information, and serving as a reference source.Pre-assigning tasks presumes there is a designated crisis team.In crisis management, the threat is the potential damage a crisis can inflict on an organization, its stakeholders, and an industry.A crisis can create three related threats: (1) public safety, (2) financial loss, and (3) reputation loss.