Successful Crisis Management During a Pandemic

We are living in a moment that can only be described as a crisis on multiple fronts. While the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a situation like none other, our experience advising clients through past crisis situations provides guidance on how to handle critical decisions in an uncertain and unsettling environment in a time of chaos and panic.

Past experience has taught us that a crisis situation can either become a distant bad memory or turn into a disaster. Failure to handle crisis management and key decisions effectively now and in the near future can lead to devastating consequences. There are common themes and basic strategies to any crisis which bear repeating.

  • Keep in mind that decisions are made in real time. They are also made with imperfect information, and initial decisions are magnified one hundred fold.
  • Don’t compound the problem. The first rule of crisis management is, “do not do anything to make it worse.” In responding to the coronavirus, that means, first and foremost, to stay healthy. You and your leadership, team, and employees cannot help anyone and get back to normal if they are sick, so do not take risks with anyone’s health.
  • Remember that credibility is key. Be honest and direct, and don’t speculate in order to tell someone what you think they want to hear. If necessary, issue holding statements.
  • Step up. Every crisis is an opportunity to help others in need while in a “foxhole” fighting together. You will be judged by what you did or did not do when the chips were down and the day was darkest.
  • Keep your team discussions privileged. To effectively respond to the crisis, make sure to put together a strong team that includes all parts of the organization, and consider including in-house or outside counsel to keep sensitive communications privileged.

As leaders in crisis management, with a full team of professionals in every discipline, the attorneys at Gibbons are available to assist our clients, friends, and the business community during this unsettling and unprecedented time of crisis. Please feel free to contact Frederick W. Alworth for further information. In addition, we will continue to monitor the coronavirus situation and update you accordingly.

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