Crisis Management 101
Founder and CEO of Crisis Management International
Bruce T. Blythe has helped organizations recover from
the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Hurricane
Andrew, the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in
Oklahoma City, multiple commercial and corporate air
crashes, and numerous workplace shootings. He offers 10
steps to follow when a crisis emerges:
1. Notify and mobilize your team, which should be
multidisciplinary, trained, and tested.
2. Establish two-way communications. Your crisis
response will never be better than the communications
you give and receive. Quickly strive to verify incoming
information. Much of the initial information is wrong.
3. Contain the crisis. Take immediate emergency response
actions to minimize the damage.
4. Anticipate how the crisis can escalate in severity. Is
unverified information true or not? What are ways the
situation can ripple out of control? Identify worst-case
scenarios and take precautionary actions.
5. Identify all impacted stakeholders who are harmed or
feel threatened. Systematically address their concerns
6. Envision the potential affect on core assets of the
organization—people, reputation, brand, trust,
finances, day-to-day operations, physical property,
and key relationships.
7. Make defining decisions. Those decisions will answer
how you will manage the crisis.
8. Anticipate the impact of your decisions—intended
outcomes and potential unintended consequences.
9. Execute on a timely basis through the crisis response
and recovery phases.
10. Implement purposeful de-escalation. Continue to
monitor impact on real and perceived stakeholders.
Keep channels open to receive timely input should the
crisis rekindle. Conduct a lessons-learned debriefing as
a required policy.
Business to Business, September 2007
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