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Preparing for the Unexpected

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Presentation on theme: "Preparing for the Unexpected"— Presentation transcript:

1 Preparing for the Unexpected
D R A F T Preparing for the Unexpected Communication Techniques and Tips to Help you Stay in Control During a Crisis Tuesday, May 17, 2011 Corning Place Consulting

2 Recent CRISIS?

3 Types of CRISIS: Financial or operational audit – scrutiny of business operations Violation of trust by an employee/staff member Unaccounted for resident


5 Following a CRISIS, who do you want to be?
Residence #A Competent, well informed Responsible & responsive Compassionate Residence #B Callus Sloppy Unscrupulous

6 What defines a CRISIS? Non-Routine
Immediately/Rapidly escalates in intensity A circumstance which invites unanticipated media, law enforcement or government scrutiny

7 What is your objective during a CRISIS?
Maintain normal business operations; modest disruption Ensure licensing status is intact Protect the short- and long-term viability of your business and its reputation Minimize damage to your bottom line

8 You can’t head off a CRISIS if its potential risks are not recognized
The assisted living environment provides ample opportunity for an incident to develop into a crisis… Residents are often perceived as vulnerable You are willing to assume responsibility and risk for residents seeking to live more independently

9 Once a CRISIS occurs, accept it and demonstrate competency by resolving the problem quickly
This can mean the difference between: One article reporting facts An open ended article, which requires follow up and prolongs the crisis

10 Steps for handling a CRISIS
Follow the critical path: Facts F Family F Media Identify the Facts : Gather the facts – avoid speculation Know what you don’t know Communicate with your company spokesperson and crisis team

11 Don’t have a CRISIS Team? Consider this…
Your crisis team needs to convey: Administrative authority (Administrator or Director) Comprehensive understanding of the regulatory environment (Deputy Administrator or Deputy Director) Detailed knowledge of day to day operations (Wellness Coordinator/Residence Services Director, Maintenance Director, or Food Services Coordinator) Someone who can articulate this (Spokesperson)

12 Steps for handling a CRISIS continued…
Notify Family: Family follows facts Decide whether information should be distributed directly to residents and their families You may wish to designate someone for this task

13 Steps for handling a CRISIS continued…
Communicate with the Media: All media inquires are to be referred to the spokesperson – one point of contact (employees should not volunteer information) If you receive media calls while you are fact-finding, get the names and phone numbers of the reporters and find out their deadline Staff must take clear, concise messages

14 Steps for handling a CRISIS continued…
Collect fundamental information about your residence Do not use industry lingo such as “ACF” or “ALP” Questions concerning your opinions, facts outside of the specific issue at hand should be avoided Be careful if a reporter asks for “background” or “off the record” information.

15 Prevention Preparation can mean the difference between disastrous public consequence or control over a bad situation Demonstrating competency can actually help your residence solidify its reputation A crisis is a terrible thing to waste

16 A commitment to media relations and the ability to manage a CRISIS has benefits
Media relations is earned – it is not advertising or sales. It helps you: Define your organization and message; Establish credibility; and Ensure fairness and receive professional courtesy

17 Where do I start? Now that you’ve made media relations a priority, you can start by: Developing a media list Becoming aware of local reporters, their beats, and their assignments Designating a staff person to pursue positive opportunities and invite media to your facility

18 How do I survive a CRISIS?
Fundamental approaches: The “crisis fairy” does not work 9 to 5 The key to communicating effectively in a crisis is responding quickly, with authority, and conviction The first few hours are the most critical

19 Conduct a self assessment
Is your crisis team in place? What crisis have struck in the past? What crisis have affected similar organizations? What chain of reactions did these set off? Who are the audiences these crisis would affect? Am I aware of the critical path?

20 How do I prepare? Create scenarios and anticipate courses of action
Develop sample key messages Anticipate and develop answers for toughest questions Preparation needs to be periodic

21 Prepare for each interview
Framing the interview Determine your position and identify three key messages Anticipate tough questions Develop concise answers – out loud Practice, practice, practice!

22 Attachments Crisis team 24-hour phone list and wallet card of emergency numbers Fact sheets on assisted living, company Media lists Crisis communications checklist Risk analysis update sheet Annual report

23 Give staff confidence in what to do
Distribute crisis plan to all supervisors Train front-line staff on media protocol Include employees in your self assessment process Hold an in-service on crisis response

24 When the crisis is over…
Continue to monitor the situation Stay in touch with key audiences Develop an after incident report Update crisis plan accordingly Cultivate relationships to rebuild confidence in your organization



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