Local Crisis Experts Stress the Importance of Building Relationships and Proactive Crisis Plans

Yesterday, the Chamber’s Your Company’s Crisis: What You Need to Know Now emphasized the importance of not only preparing for crises but having diverse teams in place that allow businesses to take immediate action before, during, and after a crisis. Expert speakers shared real-world examples of crises to showcase the importance of practicing a crisis plan and building relationships to help execute it.

Crisis readiness is a mindset, said Margarita Gurri, misbehavior expert, also known as Dr. Red Shoe. Having a plan is only beneficial if you review, practice, and prepare communications.

Most adverse situations involve the workforce. When good companies find themselves in bad situations, it is often due to poor behavior from an employee or group of employees. Companies should develop relationships early to be proactive about the inevitable nature of workforce crises.

“It’s critical to help employers identify both their internal team and external team,” said Maria Dwyer, member in charge at Clark Hill. “Internally prepare with your marketing director, the CEO, or HR person. Then the internal team would help you identify who should be a part of your external team, and that would include insurance, PR, your attorneys.”

“Avoid saying no comment,” said keynote speaker Carol Cain, senior producer and host of CBS 62’s “Michigan Matters,” and columnist for the Detroit Free Press. “The info will get out eventually, and it won’t go away, so be upfront as quickly as possible.”

Having resources available and being public about those resources helps companies approach crisis from the inside out, said Matt Friedman, co-founder of Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications. Put your workforce first; they are most affected by what’s going wrong.

With increasing advancements in technology, the need for a crisis plan to protect businesses against cyberattacks is more important than ever. It’s no longer enough for businesses to protect themselves; businesses need to review the security of their partners as well.

“You’re only as secure as your weakest link,” said Rob Sayre, vice president of technology at Bedrock Detroit. “Understanding your partner’s security and having third party risk assessments is important.”