When the going gets tough, that’s when the tough get going – or at least those with a plan and the skill to use it. That’s how to cope when a crisis hits.
Most people hate a crisis. To me, it’s when the adrenalin kicks in and professionally speaking one has to be at one’s best. It’s a test of procedure, process, communications skills and PR professionalism.
Having drafted crisis communications plan and rehearsed them you do not really want to have to put them into place – but once you have done it for real, you change your mind. It makes the PR role feel real.
It is beyond normal B2B or B2C. You’re dealing in real time, with real lives and personal stories – some of which, sadly, or tragic. Or might be. At one or another during my years with Alfred McAlpine I had to handle news about operatives deaths, severe injuries, concerns regarding the public and their health and safety and near misses.
As the lead PR consultant one works hand in glove with the HSEQ team and often the HR director too. It is at that point when you see that PR and communications is a board level role of responsibility. That experience working in-house was invaluable. I learned that you can have a process, but it means nothing until you implement it, learn from it and work alongside trustworthy colleagues.
That experience at Alfred McAlpine has been applied since (not too many thankfully) and during Covid-19 I drew upon the lessons again. You might not seek out a crisis, but the test of your professionalism is good for you – never duck it, learn from it, don’t waste the opportunity to serve your client (and perhaps some aspect of society as well) and colleagues and become a better person at the same time.
This is the second of a few of the stories behind the projects and interventions I’ve been involved with that I can share. This one is a bit generic, for all sorts of reasons I can’t go into specific incidents. If you want to find out more then you’ll have to drop me a line.