Keep calm and play to your strengths


When a challenging risk or crisis comes up, it’s a good thing to ‘keep calm and carry on’, as the well-known British saying prescribes. It’s even better, though, to keep calm and carry on by playing to your existing strengths, rather than floundering about in a panic for new avenues to try.

As I mention in a previous post, the first step in issue management (whatever the degree of risk and urgency in the issue you’re facing) is to lay out a strategic vision of the goals you want to achieve through your response. Once that strategic level has been defined, however, it’s easy to revert back to panic mode in thinking about what to do first. As a communicator, you can bring your organization’s existing pillars of strength to the table and in doing so, be the voice of calm reason.

For example, your organization may have a solid presence in social media that can be leveraged in a crisis situation. You may have strong relationships with strategic partners or suppliers who can lend a hand.

Once you’ve identified what you’ve already got going for you in communicating effectively with your stakeholders, place those channels high on your list of tactics. A crisis is no time to be improvising your tactical approach.

In issue management (as in much of life!) it’s worth heeding a familiar maxim: building from strength is always more effective than building on weakness.

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