How to be more like New Zealand and less like BP.
The extremely unfortunate events of 15 March 2020 in Christchurch, New Zealand, have surfaced some positive take-aways in terms of crisis management 'how to' best practice. Within 72 hours, over a weekend, the NZ Government had got some serious and substantial stuff done.
For a start there was the in-principle cabinet agreement that gun laws would be changed.
(Hello, America ... your endless "thoughts and prayers" are not fooling anyone.)
Then there was the National Crisis Management Media Conference on Monday itself.
It had just the right tone:
HUMAN. OFFERING REASSURANCE FOR ALL. WE'RE IN GOOD HANDS HERE.
They paraded several ministries seamlessly.
Each one in turn, spelt out clearly "Here's what we can do for you, here's what you're immediately entitled to, here's how to contact us."
They talked TO people, not AT them.
They gave relevant data on their performance, such as how long it was taking to pick up the phone, how long each support call was averagely taking (38 minutes of substantial conversation). You could visualize the real assistance being offered.
The key and repeated message from each was: "PLEASE CONTACT US DIRECTLY TO SEE WHAT'S REQUIRED."
Making themselves available.
It wasn't political-driven messaging parading as compassion.
It wasn't bluster or its close relative, bullshit.
It wasn't smoke-screening.
It was real community in action.
A government actually working for the people.
(Some countries' government departments forget they are civil servants, not civil masters.)
And they've continued to give regular updates in the same reassuring fashion since.
Questions for you :
Does your company have a crisis manual in place (better still, in several places)?
Who are your spokespeople? Do they know their first steps by heart? And the ones after that?
Are they trained up in how to deal with the media?
Because when shit hits the fan, that's not the time to learn.
The world (or your guests, customers, consumers) judges you by the speed and authenticity of your words and actions.
Otherwise, you risk looking like the CEO of BP, Tony Hayward, after the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
He was replaced soon after this shockingly self-centred media interview backfired badly.
Don't let that be you or your company.