ldarrylarmstrong phd – drdarryl

1.888.340.2006 – ldarrylarmstrong@gmail.com – www.ldarrylarmstrong.com – drdarryl@aol.com

It is overdue that all government agencies become open and transparent … The LBL Issue

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LBL morning landscape

Land Between The Lakes

To Those Interested:

Sadly, it is once again time to have our elected officials at the local, state and federal level step to the plate and stop the US Forest Service at Land Between The Lakes from making a mockery of the commitments made to the former residents, users, visitors and taxpayers.

The most recent petition drive to stop the clear-cutting and burning at this 170,000 national outdoor recreation, education and resource management area is the latest eruption in the ongoing battle to get a federal agency back in line to serve its constituency.

Everyone should understand that the USFS actions directly impacts the local tourism economy of western Kentucky and ultimately the Commonwealth’ s economy, so I am sure the Governor and Kentucky State legislators are already in touch with the locally elected officials to stop these actions. If not, now is the time for them to step up and speak out.

I commend the work of Lyon Judge Wade White and Trigg County Judge Hollis White, and Professor David Nickell and others who have committed to engaging in openness and transparency to inform and educate those with an interest in LBL  – this is something that too many local, state and federal governments only say they will do.

They are effectively using social and traditional media to push their opposition on the USFS actions out to the people that count – the former residents, the taxpayers, the users and the visitors to this national treasure. They must keep up the openness and transparency and continue to inform, educate and collaborate with those they serve and insist that the federal managers come to the table to resolve this crisis that the USFS created.

Any well-read or TV-versed person knows that the Obama administration has demonstrated they are “big on hat, short on cattle” when it comes to openness and transparency and, therefore, it seems the US Forest Service can be the same. Well, USFS you are wrong! You have been called out.

I am not surprised that Land Between The Lakes talking head Jan Bush says U.S. Forestry officials don’t plan to attend the February 26th public meeting, but they look forward to the dialogue that follows. I have to ask, how will you know what that dialogue is Ms. Bush if you don’t attend?

Knowing how the federal government works, after spending almost two decades trying to make it an open and transparent government that sought out public opinion and dialogue before making decisions that impacted its customers, all I can say is “I am sure the USFS management and employees are waiting with baited breathe over at LBL to hear the outcome of this meeting.”

According to local media sources, Wade White of Lyon County and Hollis Alexander of Trigg County are encouraging community members to voice concerns at a public meeting they’re planning for February 26th in Grand Rivers. White says logging and burning ongoing in the northern portion of LBL makes the landscape look devastated.

“If we truly are a recreational area like what was promised back in the 60s, to draw in people so it helps our economies all around, that’s not happening,” said White. “That’s not going to happen if it becomes a tree farm.”

White has been publicly critical of logging and burning operations in LBL both on his and Lyon County’s Facebook page. He’s raising funds to bolster his efforts with a media campaign, says the tax funded National Public Radio website WKMS at Murray State University.

Judge White I strongly urge you to sit down with the all the tourism commissions in the area and voice your concern. Kentucky Western Waterlands, Inc. should be speaking up on behalf of the regional tourism businesses.

Also, Judge White and Alexander please contact the Southeast Outdoor Press Association (http://seopa.org); The Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers Association (http://aglowinfo.org); The National Outdoor Writers Association (http://owaa.org); the Tennessee and Kentucky Press associations and outdoor writer association and such imminent and respected outdoor writers as Wade Bourne (http://www.wadebourneoutdoors.com/ ) in Clarksville, Tenn.; Steve Vantress in Paducah, and Bill Evans, Vice President of Operations and News at WPSD-TV and let them know of this egregious issue and the opposition and give them interviews, fact sheets, photographs and video. Take this story to the world and I assure you these people will respond.

We support Judge White and Judge Alexander; however, just as we saw with the US Corps of Engineers attempts to recently ram down a new policy about fishing below Barkley Dam without public input and consideration these judges will have to have the total support of Congressman Whitfield and Senators McConnell and Paul to stop this outrageous activity. Now, is the time to insist that the state and federal representatives publicly speak up and demonstrate their support of your viewpoints.

This time federal legislation must be designed to also include a provision that stops such excessive forestry practices and ensures that all roads to all cemeteries in LBL will be maintained and remain open at all times. The legislation should focus any agency that runs this project on operation and maintenance of existing facilities, confine them to the facilities they currently have with no more commercialization expansion and insist that they are at all times engaged with the public seeking input, comment and collaborative decision-making.

Make no mistake to stop this action will require federal legislation, supported by the state of Kentucky and Tennessee and the local and state elected officials.

As concerned citizens and taxpayers, call and write your federally elected officials, your Governor and state legislators and insist they attend this meeting. Ask them the federally elected representatives to intervene legislatively and insist while they are at it that they insist the USFS demonstrate enough courage to come to these meetings and hear the public’s views, issues, concerns and dialogue.

It is time that government at all levels actively seek out and engage those who pay their salaries and fund their budgets — the taxpayers. In fact, that time is long overdue!

Finally, drive over to LBL and see this situation for yourselves. Call Judge White and Alexander and talk to them and express your opinions, attend this meeting on February 26th in Grand Rivers; call WPSD-TV, the Paducah Sun and your local newspapers and insist they attend.

Use your own personal social media sites to get your messages and opinions out there, whatever they might be and insist that the USFS become open and transparent.

Finally, Judge White and Alexander file Freedom of Information Acts requesting all documents dealing with this and all management issues of concern and if it is found that someone sitting in the southwestern United States wrote this management plan reveal that fact to the public.

Go to these sites to learn more and attend these meetings to voice your opinions, your outrage and or your concern:



Preventing a Crisis: Ebola, Campus Riots, Pandemics – What Professionals Must Understand About Working with the Media

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Regrettably, the Ebola crisis will continue to be a top of the page story for the next several months.  The conflicting messages given by the medical profession and the media have made sure of this.  The medical profession has created this crisis by providing experts who are not necessarily good communicators to communicate about the disease and the infected patients. Although doctors may be experts at medical issues, they are not necessarily good communicators with the media and the public at large.

Doctors are usually well experienced at diagnosing and treating disease.  However, few are experienced in talking to the media and the public.  As a result, while they don’t plan to create a crisis, they often do just that. This often occurs when there has not been adequate time taken to create key messages, trained on those messages and ensure that everyone is on message.

 For example, the medical profession and the President often contradict each other.

Obama says: “You Can’t Get Ebola Sitting Next to Someone on a Bus”.

CDC announces: “Avoid Public Transportation”. (cnsnews.com)

In his video to residents of West African countries experiencing Ebola outbreaks, President Obama dispensed advice on how to avoid the disease, “You cannot get it (Ebola) through casual contact like sitting next to someone on a bus”.

At the same time, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is advising Americans who travel to the Ebola-stricken nations to “avoid public transportation”.

Listeners must ask themselves which is the correct message? As this story has evolved, it is too reminiscent of the old Abbott-Costello routine of “Who’s on first”?

To avoid the crisis mentality, media training and practice is required for doctors (and all professionals who are going to speak to the media) so that they know how to respond when called upon to answer questions at a media briefing. Every doctor or designated spokesperson should be trained to follow the same rules. Some doctors and now even the President have stepped outside the “agreed to” principles of conduct during this crisis, and they and their employers and their audiences have suffered the consequences.

Most of us are familiar with the acronym HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and the rules that govern patient privacy. And we are familiar with the requirements to read and sign a form that clearly articulates what information can and can’t be released by your doctor. These Federal rules essentially keep a doctor or an employer of the health care facility from talking about a patient or an issue.

But when the issue is Ebola, E-coli or the Avian Flu, the media demands details, because of HIPAA, doctors often cannot provide these details. Doctors who are media trained and practiced can assist in preventing a crisis by sharing a carefully crafted answer with the media…an answer that explains the situation and the parameters around the answer.

The blog post at Gerard Braud Communications suggests that a media trained doctor can artfully reply, when asked about a patient’s condition during an outbreak of the Ebola virus, “Please understand that due to Federal law – the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act – HIPAA – I am not permitted to discuss specific health conditions about our patient, and neither should the media share such information. I can in general say that a patient with the Ebola virus can be safely quarantined because the virus is not transmitted by breathing in the infection.   It can be transmitted only by contact with blood or other body fluids.”

Simply stated, reporters need a sound bite or a good quote. The key for crisis prevention managers is to write sound bite answers in advance for “tough questions” and then assist the doctor in learning how to masterfully deliver them. The “get on message and stay on message” concept is causing great difficulties with the current administration and its appointees.

We insist that our clients develop the “toughest of the tough” questions — those questions, which I call “keep us awake at night” — and that we write simple, easy to understand and communicate answers. The same principle is true when we assist clients with development of crisis plans. Prepare for the worst-case scenario and you will be able to handle anything.

Although doctors are highly trained in the medical field, they need advice, counsel and training before working with reporters. The same is true for any specialized profession be they engineers or bank presidents.

Professionals in any field will be well served to collaborate with their communicators and public relations teams well in advance of engaging in any media conference. In order to be successful in today’s world, professionals should obtain the information and practice their delivery before they perform in the media arena.


Dr. L. Darryl Armstrong is a crisis and emergency communications and management consultant. He can be reached at drdarryl@aol.com or 1.888.340.2006. Dr. Armstrong is available for speaking engagements and conducts training workshops. Visit his website at www.ldarrylarmstrong.com where you can find even more free resources including the FREE white paper The 11 Steps in Crisis Communications.

References: www.ldarrylarmstrong.com and www.braud.com

Written by ldarrylarmstrong

October 31, 2014 at 15:19

Posted in Uncategorized

Small Businesses, Their Owners, Families and Campus Security Must Prepare for the Worst Case Scenarios – Key Questions

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Small Businesses, Their Owners, Families and Campus Security Must Prepare  for the Worst Case Scenarios – Key Questions

 By Dr. L. Darryl Armstrong APR CCMC CAMT



 NOTE: The advice and tips presented here can apply to you and your family, as well as your business.

 As a small business owner, we rarely think of ourselves as “targets” and yet frankly we are, especially if you are in a retail business and open 24/7, 365 days a year.  You are targets for shoplifters, robbery, vandalism, parking lot theft and even active shooters. Any business that has walk in traffic can experience an active shooter, attempted armed robbery or an armed act of domestic violence. Today’s headlines are full of such incidents as:

Jacksboro Convenience Store Robbed; Cashier Shot

  • Attempted Robbery Ends – Robber Taken Down by Store Owner
  • Husband Shoots Wife at Local Gas Station – Takes Own Life
  • Car Jacking Attempt Scares Community – First Ever in County
  • Sliders Steal Purse From Car at Gas Station
  • Man Killed in Wal-Mart Toy Department

Then, of course, we have horrendous incidents such as the terrible tragedy in the darkened theater in Aurora, Colorado, where a deranged individual kills 12 people and injures 58 others.

We are living in a dangerous world. Suffice it to say that as individuals and small business owners we must acknowledge this and prepare ourselves for any possible scenario.

To ensure that the victims and all other victims of active shooters, irate spouses and deranged individuals didn’t die in vain, I suggest that we can learn lessons from such tragedies and apply them in our businesses and families.

In this column, I want to share with you the self-defense and self-preservation tactics and sage advice provided by former Navy SEAL Brandon Webb, author of The Red Circle that you and I can use to protect our families, our employees and ourselves.

First, simply don’t make yourself an “Easy Target” anywhere you go. When at sporting events, concerts, church, the theater, a restaurant or the movies choose seats that always give you a tactical sight advantage.  Choose seats that allow a good and easy vantage point to survey the room at all times and that are near an exit that you can see and get to quickly. This employs an understanding of the need to be hyper-vigilant at all times.

Webb summarizes it this way, “Always stack the odds in your favor.”

Much like Webb, I still back into a parking space and sit with my back to the wall when I am in public. A quick escape from any situation is critical. Always survey the room, the facility and your own business for the quickest way to get out and away from a situation. When in doubt, there is no dishonor in taking flight so that you might fight again another day.

Second, if you end up in an active shooter situation immediately take cover and not just concealment.

Webb explains, “Concealment hides, cover hides AND protects.  It’s the difference between hiding behind a movie seat or a concrete wall. Don’t lie there with your eyes closed and get shot. Think and move.  In these situations you have to take charge and get in the mindset of self-rescue. You cannot wait for first-responders – it takes too long. A good decision executed quickly is better than a great one never executed. Violence of action, as it is called in the Special Operations community, will often change the odds in your favor.”

Violence of action literally means the unrestricted use of speed, strength, surprise, and especially aggression to achieve total dominance against your enemy. For example, Webb notes that in close quarter combat drills he would draw a gun with someone over 20 feet away running at him.

“In most cases you can be on someone before they can draw and take a shot.  I’m not advocating running straight at someone but if you have the tactical advantage say his weapon jams, he needs to re-load, he becomes distracted or the shooter isn’t paying attention then take the shooter down or get the hell out of there.  Remember that a moving target is extremely hard to hit, even for the well-trained shooter. Deal with the situation with your eyes wide open,” Webb says.

I should point out here that many small business owners have policies about the employees not carrying weapons or having weapons on the business site. If you don’t have a written policy, now is the time to write and vet it. Work with your attorney or human resources personnel to ensure you are covering the bases you want in the policy and that there is no confusion or the ability to misinterpret the policy.

More than once in the past few years, employees have been dismissed for violation of the employer’s weapons on person/premise policies even though in some cases their actions have saved lives and taken out the bad guy.

As the owner of the business you must plan for these types of situations in advance and construct the policies that you choose. Your employees should be fully aware of your policy before they are employed so they can rationally choose whether they wish to work for you or not.

In the Aurora, Co. shooting, the shooter was severely weighted down with armor and his helmet would have also limited his vision. You can use all this to your advantage to escape or to attack.

Third, Webb advocates and I concur that for personal protection you should always carry a high-powered beam flashlight. He carries one daily and takes it everywhere, as do I.

“It’s become another extension of me and has diffused at least two potentially violent confrontations in a non-lethal way,” Webb says.

Webb explains that in the case of the Colorado shooting that he would have pulled his high lumens pocket flashlight and blinded the shooter. The high powered beam would have taken away the shooter’s vision for 3-4 seconds, which is an eternity and enough time to take flight or fight.

“There’s no shame in surviving and getting you and your loved ones out of harm – especially little ones. Be a hero to your kids and family for surviving, nobody can expect more of you than that. Like we say in Survival Escape Evasion Resistance (SERE) School, “Survive with Honor,” Webb notes.

For most of people, the best bet is to buy a good tactical flashlight, that is at least 200+ lumens (I prefer and recommend 500-Lumens), waterproof, LED, with a 3-volt lithium battery.  Use and carry the light with you at all times. It’s the best non-lethal and practical option available.  You can take it anywhere – including on an airplane – and if it’s a high lumen model it will blind people even in broad daylight.

“I can’t recommend this purchase enough,” Webb says.

Fourth, Webb recommends if you are serious about self-protection you seek expert training. There are numerous former military and law enforcement instructors that offer self-defense skills to individuals and small groups. It is important to carefully vet the instructors, ask for references and follow those references up with visits or calls to former students to ensure you are getting what you pay for. Also, interview instructors carefully to ensure you are getting the instruction you want and need.

Remember that opening nights of events and large crowds make for easy targets. Webb says that most domestic and foreign terrorists want the biggest bang for their buck.

“Terrorists want Yankee Stadium sold out and not Padre Stadium at 60% capacity.  It sucks to live this way sometimes but ask the survivors from Colorado if it’s worth a minor lifestyle change. I say it is, and it’s the main reason I’m watching the Olympics on TV and not attending,” Webb says.

Finally, rehearse emergency scenarios and what you would do before there’s an emergency, the time to practice is not when the event is happening.

Let’s apply this now to your own businesses and families. Ask yourself these questions and ensure you have thought through and practiced your intended responses with your employees and family:

What is the most vulnerable aspect of your office/business/home arrangement? Entrances and exits? Lighting? Security systems?

  1. Are the exit doors accessible; properly locked from the inside with quick exit capability?
  2. Are your entrances and exits well lighted and marked?
  3. If you use video surveillance cameras are they operational and properly placed?
  4. If you have video monitoring for your front desk or counter are those monitors working and readily seen by the person staffing the counter?
  5. Do you have a “quick connect” one touch button to alert 911? Is it discreetly
  6. Do you have working telephone landlines and one dial access to 911?
  7. Is the cell coverage for your employees and family sufficient to call 911 from any place in the facility or home?
  8. Have you rehearsed and practiced fire, tornado and active shooter drills?
  9. Are your employees familiar with the Run, Hide, Fight video – responses to an active shooter scenario?
  10. Do your employees know what is expected of them in the event of a fire or tornado?
  11. Do your employees know what is expected of them in the event of an active shooter, armed or unarmed robbery, shoplifting, parking lot robbery or assault?
  12. Do you have a clear and understood weapon’s policy that you have provided your employees and secured their agreement to preferably in writing?
  13. Do you have a designated assembly point if you evacuate your home or business?
  14. When attending public events do you ensure that your family members and friends with you know where the exits are and do you have a designated assembly point if you evacuate for any reason?

The world is a dangerous place these days and whether you are planning for business or family emergencies you must be prepared. Application of the above information to your workplace and family will prepare you for such worst cases scenarios.

There are a number of resources that we highly recommend you take the time to read and watch. They include:

Escape the Wolf by Clint Emerson and Lynn Walters


Sources: www.ldarrylarmstrong.com


Written by ldarrylarmstrong

October 19, 2014 at 21:55

Posted in Uncategorized

Active Shooter Planning: 6 Business Continuity Issues that Must Be Considered

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In planning for active shooter table-top exercises an often overlooked area is that of business continuity. How and what do we do to ensure that the university gets back to the business as soon as possible. There are six major issues to consider and that law enforcement officials should collaborate with business continuity planning teams.

First, many administrators, faculty, staff and students fail to realize that when they are evacuated from a building they may not have access to that building for days, if not weeks depending on the nature of the situation. If shots were fired in the building or not, the building becomes a crime scene and appropriate protocols must be followed.

Second, if employees or students are advised they can do telework, what happens if their laptops that are required to access the virtual private network (VPN) remain in the facility and they don’t have access?

Third, even when there is a minimal loss of life, and let’s hope there is none, the psychological impacts on all parties can cause significant absenteeism. Human resources and employee assistance managers must take this into account. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is not uncommon and must be planned for in advance.

Fourth, in the case of functions such as Information Technology Centers, facility heating and cooling operations, etc. facilities and operations that cannot be interrupted does your devolution counterparts know when to assume their support role in an Active Shooter event?

Fifth, recovery time objectives are always problematic. Twelve hours may seem like long enough time to resume business “as usual”, but what happens if a lockdown last for 8-10 hours?

Finally, do your business continuity relocation plans conflict with emergency management/public safety plans and often the need to keep everyone on-site?

Law enforcement, emergency managers, public safety, public relations, human resources, supply chain providers, logistical support and others involved in planning active shooter table-top exercises and planning must have business continuity planners at the table.

L. Darryl Armstrong PhD – www.ldarrylarmstrong.com

TOTAL SCREEN RECORDER – A software we can highly recommend

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We present our “Golden Eagle Award” for a quality product

As a consultant in the field of crisis and emergency planning and management, a field where we build, develop and record numerous webinars, training and e-learning packages and videos, I am always looking for easier and better ways to develop videos and webinars.

I have searched and used a number of software packages over the years; recently when I had the time to do additional research for an “easy to use product” to capture webinars on screen I happened upon “Total Screen Recorder – Gold Version” available at http://www.totalscreenrecorder.com/

From the outset, I came to the opinion this would always be my first choice for future use. Here is why:

Ease of download and installation
High quality product from the results it provided us from the first use
Remarkably easy to use
The options of fixed screen size, full screen
Ability to adjust playback rates
The variety of five output formats
The reasonable price
Totally hassle free screen captures

Simply, as video producers and developers of training, we all have the need to capture the content of our computer screens at some point. With Total Screen Recorder you can create creative and excellent video examples or demonstrations for our own applications. As a crisis and emergency planner, I am now able to rapidly capture breaking news and videos to use in our training programs.

Total Screen Recorder is a compact and affordable screen capture tool that enables you to record the content of your screen, or its specific areas into video files with soundtracks for subsequent playback and distribution.

We especially like that Total Screen Recorder supports 5 capture modes, AVI/WMV/SWF/FLV output with configurable A/V codecs, sneak mode operation, automatic recording at Windows startup, recording timers, hotkeys, recording of the mouse cursor and has plenty of other handy features.

Total Screen Recorder allows you to capture webcam video streams in AIM, ICQ, MSN/Yahoo Messenger, as well as streams from TV cards and web pages. Simply, every video or presentation you see on your screen can be captured quickly and easily!

Total Screen Recorder is an inexpensive, very powerful and flexible solution for screen capturing.

Preparing tutorials and e-learning series can be a time consuming activity specifically when you need to make step by step e-learning modules. Although written tutorials are acceptable when supplemented by video showing/telling all the steps you will it appeals to a broader and more visually-based audience.

Total Screen Recorder helps you to make professional e-learnings by capturing videos. The software has simple, easy to use features. When you start you have a small screen that allows you to set the configurations you choose.

To start, you will define the region that you want to capture; you can select whole screen, or any particular area of the screen.

You then set the configurations for the audio by selecting the audio device and related settings. Make the selection for the video and audio aspects for the captured file with the provided features ‘Encoder’.

Select the Hotkey to Start, Stop and Resume the capturing of video.

Enable or disable the Timer features, if you choose.

Select your file name and set the destination for saving the movie file that has been captured.

You can also hide the program when the recording is going on and the program goes to the system tray for easy access.

We are not computer geniuses and yet we were able to literally install and record our first video in less than 15-minutes!

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest we would Total Screen Recorder a 5-plus! We highly recommend this software. Congratulations to the developers, we will look forward to future software from your company.

L. Darryl Armstrong PhD APR CCM CAMT
Accredited Public Relations
Certified Crisis Management
Certified Aggression Management Trainer

Cell 270.619.3803

L. Darryl ARMSTRONG and Associates
Behavioral Public Relations LLC
455 Hillside Trail, Eddyville, KY 42038
3 Moore Avenue Upstairs/Back Apt. Tybee Island, Ga. 31328

Crisis management must be integrated with a holistic approach Read more: Four Rivers Business Journal – Crisis management must be integrated with a holistic approach

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Prior to the 24-hour news channels, the advent of social media, and an ever-advancing world of mobile technology, the corporate spokesperson during a crisis could control the messages through carefully constructed news conferences.

This is no longer the case with the advent of “citizen journalists.” Organizations that have not yet recognized today’s new media place themselves in serious peril when a crisis occurs.

Today crisis communication is no longer just a corporate communicator’s function. No longer can the PR department write the crisis manual and just arrange for media training of a select few spokespeople. Today, crisis management is much more than just crisis communication during an emergency such as a flood, fire or nuclear mishap event.

A crisis, by definition, “is a revelation, allegation or set of circumstances which threatens the integrity, reputation, or survival of an individual or an organization.” Crises of any kind, be they event or non-event related, threaten the public’s sense of safety, security, values and appropriateness.

When a crisis occurs, actual, potential or perceptual damage to the organization’s brand and reputation will occur. Because the organization is often at a loss to end the damage immediately, the “after shocks” continue to do even more damage.

Therefore, a crisis management plan must account for what we generally think of as those natural or man-made events that require activation of an Emergency Operations Center and for those business crisis that are non-event related.

Statistics show that most business crises today are non-event related.

These are the “smoldering or simmering” situations that create crisis in organizations, with 49 percent of the crises originating from management and 33 percent from employees.

Of these crises, 61 percent were deemed “smoldering or simmering” while only 39 percent were sudden. This means that, in some cases, the organization was truly blindsided by the onset of the event, yet, in other cases, the organization had sufficient intelligence to be prepared and yet had not sufficiently planned to address it.

These crises range among 2012 crisis categories, expressed in percentages:

White collar crime — 16 percent

Mismanagement — 15

Work place violence — 11

Class action lawsuits — 11

Business disruption — 8

Labor dispute — 8

Casualty accidents — 8

Financial damage — 6

Consumer Activism — 4

Discrimination — 3

Other (not listed) — 3

Sexual harassment — 2

Environmental — 2

Whistleblowers — 2

Executive dismissal — 1

Prudent and strategically thinking organizations recognize the need to institutionalize, within all the key business functions, a holistic and standardized approach to handling both event and non-event related crises.

A coordinated holistic approach addresses crisis prediction, issues analysis, prevention and management as a formal part of the overall business planning strategy. Such an approach ensures solid contingency plans as part of business continuity planning.

A Change Management Plan is a key component of this strategy since such an approach requires a change from the traditional model of just event emergency planning. It requires corporate communicators and management at all levels of the business to carefully think through all the various event and non-event crises that the agency needs to be prepared to handle.

Therefore, to be effective and efficient, crisis management of non-events must be embedded into the corporation’s overall management system. Just as an organization has emergency responders within each business unit, they also must have non-event crisis managers as part of the matrix.

Holistic crisis planning, therefore, enhances the capability of the management within all business units, as well as communicators and management at the corporate level, to be better prepared. They will be ready to respond to new and even unimagined non-event risks and to manage the growing number and diversity of stakeholders, many of whom have conflicting agendas.

As organizations become more complex, non-event crisis planning becomes even more critical. Because as the organizations grow, they restructure, merge divisions and must deal with the business of corporate realignment.

This excellence in management approach can only be accomplished through integration of non-event planning as a value-add, standardized and critical component of any emergency planning activity.

When the threat management process addresses event and non-event issues and is integrated within the overall issues management process in the organization, the crisis prediction and prevention capability is noticeably enhanced. This is particularly the case for the “smoldering or simmering” crises referred to above.

Identifying and evaluating as many as possible threats and issues are always the first steps. Yet it is the management and communication of these threats and issues that is critical and most challenging for all organizations, especially when dealing with the non-event issues.

Obviously, not all crises are predictable or preventable. Yet, an effective threat and issues management process, embedded within the crisis management planning structure and coordinated at the corporate level, allows for the organization’s management to potentially foresee, plan scenarios, exercise them, be proactive and then decide to take, treat, transfer or eliminate the threat.

Forward-thinking and progressive organizations are appointing crisis event and non-event managers. These managers are charged with assessing, planning and implementing a standardized protocol and comprehensive crisis event and non-event response and communication system. This system embeds key business functions such as operations, human resources, legal, IT, health safety and environment, sales and marketing, communications, cyber and reputation security as part of the progressive crisis management teams.

Once processes have been developed covering all key business functions, the competency issues of crisis team members must be addressed. This is accomplished in the following three stages:

1. Utilize behavioral and personality style assessment such as use of the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory.

2. Provide training in those areas in which team members will be engaged, i.e. media, social media, presentation skills, dealing with different personality styles, etc.

3. Conduct extensive tabletop or full-field exercising combined with systematically cataloguing and documenting lessons learned and best practices.

Skills, training and professional experience at all levels of the crisis response structure are critical. The response begins with the receptionist providing the telephone response to callers. It includes the leadership and strategic planning skills of the crisis management team and the ability to provide counseling and support to employees, the next of kin and the victims of a crisis. And, of course, communication with the mainstream media is critical, as well as the effective shaping of messages in social media while protecting the organization’s brand and reputation.

Research, and our team member’s 40 years of experience in behavioral psychology and management, validates that the best crisis management team members are chosen and trained according to behavioral suitability and not the function related to the position on the team.

Due to ongoing staff adjustments and job changes in corporations as well as downsizing and corporate reorganization, it is essential to have a comprehensive plan that trains and retrains crisis team members in a systematic and regular manner to account for this turn over.

Many corporations are choosing to establish curriculum based training certification programs to ensure the right people are in the right place properly trained to handle the situation when needed.

The days of a corporate communicator being able to handle a crisis by calling a reporter friend are over.

Crisis communications of event and non-event situations are complex and require standardization across all business units. Embedding the crisis managers into the corporation at all levels ensures that the best decisions are made by having an active ongoing risk and issues assessment protocol. This protocol utilizes tried and proven strategies and tactics that predict and, when possible, prevent crises while managing the issue and the public and stakeholders’ perceptions.

Read more: Four Rivers Business Journal – Crisis management must be integrated with a holistic approach


Written by ldarrylarmstrong

October 13, 2013 at 14:33


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