- You run a nursery and a member of staff is found to have been abusing the children
- Hundreds of diners at your restaurant go down with food poisoning
- Eggs you’ve imported from Germany are contaminated with dioxins
- You manufacture one of the most popular brands of pushchairs, and it’s emerged that some children’s fingers have been severed after becoming caught in the mechanism
All these are real crises which have threatened the survival of businesses that faced them.
** The nursery worker Vanessa George, who worked at Little Ted’s nursery in Plymouth, was convicted in December 2009 after she admitted sexual assaults on children and distributing and making indecent pictures of children at the nursery.
The nursery has since closed down.
** At Heston Blumenthal’s Michelin starred restaurant the Fat Duck in Bray, over 500 diners went down withfood poisoning, when the restaurant had a six week outbreak of the norovirus.
The restaurant had to close for two weeks, the Health Protection Agency produced a critical report, and the chef offered each of those affected a free meal.
** Liquid egg imported from Germany found to be contaminated with dioxins was used by two UK manufacturers of cakes and quiches, sold in Tesco’s and Morrisons. Most of the products had already been brought by the time it was discovered, but rest had to be taken off the shelves.
** Maclaren pushchairs recalled a million pushchairs in the US, and was sued by dozens of parents both in the US and the UK after their children’s fingers were injured by a fault in the mechanism in one of its most popular pushchairs
All of these crises – or variations of them – could happen to you.
And if you haven’t anticipated them, if you haven’t planned for them, if you haven’t put procedures in place to ensure your organisation can continue to function, if you haven’t worked out how you might handle the crisis, and if you haven’t briefed every member of staff how to cope with the media fall out …
…well, your reputation could be in tatters and your business could fold.
I hope this prospect scares you, because that fear is the first step to developing a crisis management plan to help you manage whatever might arise.
Crisis management isn’t just for the BPs, BAs and Toyotas of this world, it’s for you too.