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What would your company look like if you did not fear crises? 

December 14, 2021

Confucius tells us that “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”

What is fear, and why do so many corporate leaders fear crises? 

Fear is a concern, rational or not, about your well-being. In this context, it is a concern about the reputation of your organization. You may fear the unknown, the media, a misunderstanding, or anything else that could derail your strategy and negatively affect your bottom line.  

But what if I told you, you could lead and manage your organization without fear? 

You can be more authentic, confident and fast – you’d know that your team was prepared. And you can also have an acute understanding of the risks that could impact your organization’s reputation in time to prepare for them?

What would it look like if you gave in to the fear of crisis

You certainly wouldn’t do anything that might be misunderstood or controversial –  you’d probably say all the “right things.”  And you could maybe prevent a crisis from landing on your doorstep because you never took a chance. That’s hardly realistic. We want and need to take risks in business. 

It is possible to have both — to take risks and feel safe?

You just need to feel prepared.  Perhaps a better way to put it is, you need to feel confident you can face a crisis. 

We’re not talking about false confidence. An ostrich feels confident when it sticks its head in the sand to avoid a predator. While sticking your head in the sand may sound appealing in the moment, you know that’s not a recipe for success when something goes wrong. Protecting a reputation during times of crisis requires action. 

The way you prepare for crises is to understand the key elements of readiness before one hits. That is how you will keep your reputation safe. 

The three key elements of crisis confident teams

In all our years of being on the front lines of reputation protection, we’ve learned that every confident team shares three key elements:

  • First of all, you need speed, and that’s the ability for you to see what’s coming towards you as early as possible, and then have the capabilities to make you faster when you need to respond as the situation dictates. 
  • Secondly, clarity. It’s the understanding of who you are as an organization and what you stand for (and against), and who matters most to you. Going deeper, it means understanding intuitively the issues, threats, or risks that are going to knock you off course. And it means understanding what your team can actually realistically accomplish. 
  • And then lastly, trust. Fear is built around your concern for your safety and is rooted in an absence of trust. You need to have trust in your systems, trust in your procedures, and trust in the people that you rely on that are going to be able to perform and respond in a particular moment.

How does it feel to face crises without fear?

How would it feel if you, as a strategic communicator, and your company did not fear crisis? 

You would know, and have confidence in, your team could respond to any number of reputation-impacting situations with necessary speed. You would have clarity and understanding around issues, risks, and threats that could impact you and your team’s ability to respond. And you’d trust the systems and procedures that you’ve put in place. 

None of that is going to happen simply by wishful thinking. There’s hard work that’s required to make you faster. It requires deep insight and perspective to find that clarity, and it requires confidence born through the experience of exercises and exposure to make sure that you have that trust.

These basic building blocks are the foundation to erasing your fear of crisis, or better said, for you to feel confident during a crisis: speed, clarity, and trust. 

Stay tuned with us over the next couple of weeks and months, as we talk more detail about how organizations can be less fearful and more confident as they prepare for various risks and crises that could impact their organization.


Photo by Matteo Di Iorio on Unsplash


Filed under: Blog


Bill is a reputation management, crisis communications and professional development expert, keynote speaker, Wall Street Journal Risk & Compliance panelist, and best-selling author of Critical Moments: The New Mindset of Reputation Management. He has more than 25 years of global experience managing high-stakes crises, issues management, and media relations challenges for both Fortune 500 companies and winning global political campaigns.