Don’t try to MacGyver your way out of a crisis

Remember MacGyver? If that does not ring a bell with you, here is MacGyver 101: Angus MacGyver was a secret agent known for his uncanny abilities to heroically overcome crises’ by “winging it” and always return unscathed the following week.

In the real world, companies and organizations can find themselves in a crisis situation at any moment, but that is not the time to pull a MacGyver and “wing it.” Protecting and saving an organization’s reputation is a delicate, communication balancing act that requires preparation and skill. The most essential item when planning for a crisis is a well-thought-out crisis communication plan that can be put into place quickly.

After you finalize your plan, the crisis communication team should meet twice a year to practice handling a plausible crisis scenario. Practice will enable the team to jump into actin quickly and efficiently, which is imperative to an organization when every second is being scrutinized by the media and the public is forming opinions with every news report. Studies show that when a crisis situation is handled swiftly and properly, damage to an organization’s reputation can be minimized.

Crisis situations can happen to any organization of any size at any time. Taking the time to objectively brainstorm possible “what if” scenarios that your company could face, and learning how to respond to a barrage of tough questions from reporters, is time well spent. Think of crisis communication training as an insurance policy: It won’t prevent bad things from happening, but it sure makes recovering from a catastrophe easier.

Need help putting together your crisis communication strategy? Carmie McCook & Associates has helped Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, professional associations and others with their crisis communication plans for more than 20 years.