Understanding What Matters in Crisis Response

What systemic knowledge can individuals and organizations tap into when they are anticipating negative outcomes and trying to ameliorate their harmful consequences? The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and York University’s Hennick Centre for Business and Law focused on this challenge in a recent seminar.

The Toronto-based Globe and Mail posted an article this week about what seminar participants concluded, including five specific areas that will help organizations better manage risk and handle uncertainty.

No matter what kind of crisis is involved, the article says, leadership and strategic communications are vital. “Since biblical times, every crisis narrative involves a hero, a villain and a victim. Successful crisis management relies on strong leaders who can effectively frame how events should be contextualized and manage expectations,” the article says.

Delegation and networking are also crucial, especially since “very few crises respect institutional mandates or jurisdictions or even sovereign boundaries.” Concerns about the organization’s broader reputation and long-term priorities are also important issues that should not be overlooked in crisis response.

Finally, information – facts and analytic capacity, not anecdotes – is also key. “The ability to manage uncertainty – and inevitable crises – presents the greatest challenges and opportunities for leaders of any significant institution. It is hard to imagine more worthy investments,” the article concludes.

To read the full article, click here: