speaking truth to power

Truth to power: A Communicator’s Obligation

Critical Takeaways CEOs need an honest view of the situation in order to be able to manage a crisis. This requires those who support them to ‘speak truth to power’. Crisis communicators are in a unique position to bring the external perspectives into the discussion. Communicators must learn to share their views with clarity, courage […]

man burried under work

The problem with planning for a problem

Critical takeaways A shelf of plans in ‘white binders’ gives a false sense of security and can be worthless. A crisis plan is not a step-by-step guide for every possible eventuality but should lay out the basic procedures for managing a crisis and some standard steps to address crises by type. This generates valuable speed […]

buidling block representing CEOs and leadership

How CEOs can build a reputation premium through leadership and pressure

Critical Takeaways Reputation risk is becoming better understood and more explicitly linked to corporate value but CEOs still lack the requisite tools to manage this risk. Lessons learned from compliance in the 1990s / 2000s provide a roadmap for CEOs to build a culture that creates and values reputation. Reputation is built from the top […]


Crisis and the Speed of Trust

    Many of you will have seen the funny commercial series for an insurance provider with the tagline “Life comes at you fast.”  That always gets me thinking about the reaction that most people have when confronted with a critical moment. Suddenly, they are faced with a situation that impacts their organization’s ability to […]

Construction site crane building Strategy 3D word. Part of a series.

Intersection of Strategy and Expectations

We all love to use the word strategy and this is the natural level at which a communicator should be thinking.  Our efforts are a major part of what makes strategy – the way in which the organization will realize its objectives – work. But much as we like to talk about it, it’s also […]

The most critical skill in a crisis is…

  I’m often asked, “What are the keys to crisis response success?”.  After 25 years in the field, I have a ready stock of answers (a whole book’s worth in fact).  However, many of these articles have been from the standpoint of what the company should do, how fast they should respond or who should […]

gazelle in fear

Don’t be a gazelle – how to manage fear in crisis

Don’t be a gazelle – how to manage fear in crisis I was recently watching Animal Planet with my daughter. The show was about predators hunting their prey, in this case a lion and a herd of gazelle. Gazelles have keen hearing and a good sense of smell but sensing the lion, their immediate response […]

What about litigation?

  In my experience, at some point in the discussions during a crisis someone will utter a phrase that will kill the conversation. “We need to think about litigation.” This sounds like a pertinent and important thing to think about but this statement is as useful as the head of communications saying ‘it’s blowing up […]

weakest link CEOs

Are CEOs the weakest link in a crisis? They don’t have to be.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review about CEOs and leadership found that 68% of CEOs weren’t fully prepared for the job.  One interviewee sums up the reason for this stark finding thus: “When you become the final decision maker, everything changes. It’s hard to train on this.” Despite this high figure, the CEOs […]

business meetings

During a CRISIS – Who needs to be in the room?

Who needs to be in the room when developing crisis response? ‘Is everyone here?’ It’s a pretty standard and innocuous question at the beginning of most meetings or conference calls but working out what we mean by ‘everyone’ during a crisis can be difficult.  Unlike a standard meeting, where there is a set schedule, agenda […]