Crises are too messy to predict or define, but you can identify a huge crisis so that it’s comprehensible.
A major crisis:
1. Grips an entire organization. One business unit is not major enough.
2. Takes a big toll on life, property, money or well-being. Such a cataclysmic event almost necessarily involves the surrounding community: an enormous oil spill, the 2008 market crash, a hurricane.
3. Sometimes can destroy an organization, such as last year’s credit crunch that consumed Lehman Brothers.
You can prepare for crisis. Create backup systems in various categories, including natural disasters and workplace violence. Practice dealing with several crises at once.
—Adapted from Managing Crises Before They Happen, Ian Mitroff with Gus Anagnos, Amacom.
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