You should train for a crisis! Because training is good.
If you want to become good at sports or art, you have to train.
If you want to be good at business, you have to train.
And if you want to be good at handling an online reputation crisis, you have to train.
How do you train for a crisis?
Large companies have special crisis management teams. I had the privilege of working for such a department in a large insurance company here in The Netherlands. And we had the best crisis management department. Especially the guy who organized and ran the training was great.
Every year, the board would voluntarily free up one day of their agenda to train themselves in the art of crisis management. And we would serve them up a scenario that was relevant, included the latest technological features and the most interesting headlines. And the training guy would scan headlines months in advance to create the scenario for the training.
What if you don’t have a crisis management team?
But what if you’re not a large insurance company? And if you don’t have a special department? Heck, you probably don’t even have a special crisis management guy.
Train for a crisis in a small team!
Start with what you do have. You do have a small team to train with, for instance during a team meeting. And you probably have some sort of scenario that happened some time ago where you thought “we can learn something from this”. Or a negative review that you had no clue what to do with it until it was too late.
And those are the key ingredients for a good crisis scenario. Now, all you need to do is have a discussion of how you would handle this scenario if it happened. Or, if you want to make it a bit more spectacular, ask some friends and family to help you.
What do you get out of training for a crisis?
Practice, of course. Practice that helps you build and improve your crisis management routines. But training for a crisis can be a lot of fun too. And, most important of all, it will give you the trust you need to execute on your plan in a crisis.