Managing the upward flow of information in a crisis – what matters most?

By Dominic Cockram

The BriefHaving worked over the last few months with some of the larger organisations in the world, both in the UK and internationally, it has been fascinating to reflect on the unique challenges presented to a “super-corporate” in delivering crisis management and crisis leadership at the top.

Naturally, one of the greatest challenges is in the management and transfer of information about the crisis.  Quite rightly, it is filtered as it percolates up to senior leadership levels but any CEO worth his salt wants to get a feel for the reality “on the ground” and a true sense of what is happening.  This is difficult to achieve from a report which has gone through several levels of review, filter and reduction and which may be given by another executive who is also not on the ground.

So a challenge is presented, not least because any CEO appearing in front of the world’s media is going to want – and need – to be armed not only with his facts and key messages but also to be able to demonstrate he genuinely knows and feels what it is like for those right at the heart of the crisis.  Empathy is a difficult thing to achieve when you have only been presented with the “strategic issues” in a rather colourless fashion.  Yet in crisis communications, it is something the media and public are looking for and can be so judgmental about.  Continue reading