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School of Hard Knocks

Crisis Management Tip (or should I say reminder)

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If you text it, email it or speak it, you and you alone released that info and own the inherent risk associated to the information released. If you text or email information that you don’t want out in the public or it could be perceived negatively even if it gets out to your team, board or small community, you probably should not release it.

I also encourage you to be aware of who can over hear you even in what you think are private conversations. You never know who would love to put that information out into the atmosphere for mere entertainment value or even to be malicious (is there a difference in the two?).

Same thing with social media. I run into so many nonprofit leaders that when there is a crisis they start to panic and respond to every comment. You are not obligated to respond.

If you do make this mistake which we all do, own it with humility. Humility goes a long way with people. You will notice people immediately soften when you take this approach authentically.

Something like, “I am so sorry. I shouldn’t have responded like that. It was very insensitive. I wasn’t thinking. I’m new (or stressed or whatever) and have had a very steep learning curve. Although it’s not an excuse for my response, it’s been a challenge and wanted you to know. I hope you consider forgiving me and allowing me to rectify the situation.”

Or if you were gossiping and saying words that are defamatory, take a similar approach.

If you are involved with nefarious activities and communicating over the digits or being recorded unbeknownst to you, you are on your own. Stop.

Sometimes saying nothing or very little is the best bet. Eating crow is much better then the possible fall out and you may even end up making a solid ally by leading with humility. I know this because it’s happened to me.

Remember too- in the age of the cyber world we live in, take extra care who has access to all your electronic devices even your work equipment. Stay vigilant. Stay aware. Stay Sensitive to Others and Stay Empathetic.

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