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Crisis Management

As a leader, you will face multiple crises. While you will easily weather many bad situations, there may be some that will seriously threaten your company and your reputation. How you respond to crises, especially crises of trust, will determine your fate. You must use appropriate communication tools to emerge victorious. In your course materials, Jack identifies five principles for managing a crisis:

Assume the worst
There are no secrets
Your crisis management will not be portrayed favorably
Your organization will undergo changes
Your organization will come out of the crisis stronger
Additionally, Warren Buffett emphasizes four critical steps in managing a PR crisis:

Get it right
Get it fast
Get it out
Get it over
For this assignment, you will apply key concepts from your course materials to respond to a public relations crisis. NOTE: Before beginning work on this assignment, review your materials from Weeks 5 and 6.

Your responses in Part One: Memo Outline must include specific references to course materials addressing the principles and practices of effective crisis management that you are deploying in your internal memo and include an explanation for why you are doing so.

In your Week 5 discussion question, you identified and addressed a public relations crisis that an organization faced. In this assignment, using that same crisis, you will turn your attention to crafting an internal communication in the form of a memo to be shared by email.

You will write your memo from the perspective of a leader within that company. The memo will be addressed to your team members and will communicate information about the crisis and your response. Your assignment will be composed of two parts: (1) an outline of your key points and communication strategy and (2) the actual memo.

Part 1: Memo Outline

Create an outline of your memo in which you summarize four communication objectives and your strategy to achieve each of those objectives. Think of this as your “game plan.” This outline should be no more than one page in length. You may use bullets and sentence fragments if you like. The outline’s purpose is to help you organize your messaging and create a roadmap for the final version of the memo. Your outline should address the following:

1. The Nature of the Crisis

What are the 2-3 most critical points that must be presented in the memo to accurately summarize the nature of the crisis without going into non-essential details?
Why are you focusing on these points?
2. The Factors That Led to the Crisis

What key circumstances – decisions, mistakes, timelines, personnel, and/or departments caused the crisis?
Why are you focusing on these?
3. The Impact on Stakeholders (both Internal and External)

What are the most important adverse outcomes you want to highlight in your memo?
Why are you focusing on these?
Are there any outcomes you do NOT want to include in the memo? Why?
4. The Plan to Resolve the Crisis

What are the critical next steps to get through the crisis?
Who will own these steps, and what are the timelines?
What do you need from your team?
Why are you focusing on these actions?
Part 2: Memo

Create a 1- to 2- page internal memo to be sent to your team members via email based on your outline. Make sure you cover the following:

The nature of the crisis
The factors that led to the crisis
The impact on stakeholders
The plan, including how the company – and you – are responding to the situation, and the steps your team members should take, including what, if anything, they need to do differently

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