Dealing with crises – a book review

Bolt from the BlueBolt from the Blue    by Mike Pullen and John Brodie Donald

This book explores approaches to crisis management.

Find out how balancing a broomstick on the end of your finger is relevant to crisis management, explore how the horsemeat in beefburger scandal is essentially the same as the CDO scandal that triggered the economic crisis and learn about how Donald Rumsfeld perhaps knew more than we think about the relationship between those classic Greek actors Scylla and Charybdis
The authors subtitle “Navigating the New World of Corporate Crises’ is relevant insofar as communications media and processes are more or less instant these days and so crises can erupt unexpectedly from the strangest of quarters– very different from when it took weeks to let Queen Victoria know that we had beaten the Boers. These instant communications channels offer/create challenges that are new to most companies, as is amply demonstrated in the host of case studies (perhaps a few too many, or explored in too much detail, for the practicing manager, who wants to know about ACTION) presented in support of the authors’ prescriptions:

  • Five key principles of crisis management
        • Don’t deny anything before you know all the facts
        • Your response time must be faster than the speed of the story
        • When the crisis hits bring in external consultants
        • Change the culture not just the policies
        • Be patient, recovery takes time

The bulk of the book explores, through extensive use of case studies, how crises can arise as a result of:

      • Six potential instigators of crises
        • Suppliers
        • Regulators
        • NGOs
        • Customers
        • Competitors
        • Employees

The book started as an easy and interesting read, but seemed to peter out about half way through when it became more descriptive than prescriptive. It would offer some useful insights to internal PR professionals and to the most senior management in any company although reading the Introduction and Chapter 1 alone would offer the most advice, the rest is a series of illustrations of how crises can arise.

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