What’s your crisis plan? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

What’s your crisis plan?

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

When bad news threatens to explode into a crisis, a leader’s first line of defense is having a plan in place.

It’s how Mohamed Ramzi Ismail averted a PR mess after receiving a bad-news phone call at 3 am one October day in 2006.

The company Ismail co-founded, Reliabid, helps small businesses collect payments for goods sold on eBay. The company had been updating its software and, inadvertently, the records for nearly 1,000 eBay products were erased.

Fortunately, Ismail and his partner, CEO Jonathan Rosen had already taken these steps:
  1. Consider the problems that could wreak havoc. The partners knew that online fraud might affect them someday.

  2. Form an executive-level crisis team of five to seven people. Divvy up tasks. At Reliabid, Rosen handled media calls; Ismail, as company president, notified customers.

  3. Put the plan and individual duties in writing and distribute it to team members. Send a memo to employees, so they know where to direct press calls.
Bottom line: People know that companies make mistakes. Show customers that you know how to respond when things go wrong, and they’ll feel more secure following you.

— Adapted from “Managing: Handle With Care,” BusinessWeek.

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