Prepare, CRISIS, Respond

“The terrible thing about crises is they always happen. The wonderful thing is they always end.” – Scott Galloway

The benefit of a crisis is it unites everyone in the shadow of one big problem. Everyone has their own unique experiences, but at the human level, a crisis offers a common entry point. The opportunity we have in front of us includes acknowledging the struggle we’re experiencing, pointing to the cliff we fell off and then to the wall of worry on the other side of the canyon, and explaining how we are going to (eventually) climb out, together.

The key to our messaging is to remember a story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. If we put the crisis in the middle, we can shape the beginning and end for as broad or narrow an audience as we want to go after. This is where Galloway’s quote is a good reminder. Our three steps go something like:

  1. Prepare for a range of outcomes 
  2. CRISIS (you are here)
  3. Assess the damage and respond opportunistically 

Predicting and being opportunistic about a crisis beforehand is great if you can do it. The odds are you can’t. So instead, we focus on a range of outcomes. After one of those outcomes occurs, we can get opportunistic thanks to the planning we did beforehand. We can do a lot of good helping people think in these three stages.

This too shall pass. But another one will come. Again and again, over and over. Professionally, we prepare and we respond. The crisis is giving us a way to talk about what we do and how we do it to people who are ready to comprehend why it matters. The world’s a messy place. We can’t change reality, but we can help navigate it.

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