Prior planning or piss-poor performance: The Crisis Choice

Atlanta has fallen victim to an attack. Mother Nature has crippled the city with less than a foot of snow and ice. Yankees, enjoy your giggles.

I flashback to a terribly plodding The West Wing episode, in which Pres. Jed goes to tornado-hit town to help. At first it’s great PR … but then it hits that threshold where it’s no longer helping, it’s hurting. - I hope the snowstorm doesn't impact my schedule of aimlessly wasting my day online Solution or Problem?

Does the site of Georgia’s new governor and the boring old muckety-muck meeting on the evening news assure anyone?

I would rather see them prepping I-285 before the storm hit. Or have him call neighboring states to borrow snowplows, like you do with utility trucks pre-hurricane. Lack of preparation is a poor excuse, even for Atlanta.

With Pres George W. Bush’s “heckuva job” comments biting him on the ass I have to wonder, do such efforts really rally the troops?

I’d rather you email the “attaboy” praises, pass out water or some sandbags. Or just get the hell out of the way of those actually working.

Do the staged, phony PR opps of leaders shaking hands motivate those employees on the front line?

Instead of praising employees for dealing with crisis as best they can, get them ready for it before hand. Communicate your plan, get your ducks lined the hell up.

Less faking, more doing

Think about Exxon or what BP could have done, should do now. It’s about leadership, right?

The more time you waste talking about a situation, the less time you spend working on actually improving it. Walk in, size it up per your existing crisis PR plan, make executive decisions, delegate. Don’t pretend to help just for PR appearances, act.. you know, some bullshit about leading by example.

  • Instead of seeing someone doing 20 different jobs at once, don’t offer them a “thank you” snack, offer them a helping hand.
  • Don’t ask “what do you need, where should I go, what should I do?” like you’re bloody helpless. If you are capable of doing something, see it needs to be done, then do it. If a phone is ringing off the hook, answer it as best you can..

People responded to General Honore during Katrina because was straight forward, no nonsense. And because he didn’t stand around just to be “seen in the trenches” but seemed to be really working in those trenches.

So how’s this for a crisis plan: Strap on some boots, put on your big girl panties, get real work done. That’s the real PR; worry about the fake PR later.

Photo credit: I’d say I gotta find new material, but the Someecards just work.


Author: Davina K. Brewer

Professional business communications: integrated public relations, truly social media, smart design. Silos are bad, PR is more than just publicity and I'm typing here.

2 thoughts on “Prior planning or piss-poor performance: The Crisis Choice”

    1. Marcus, I get leadership and delegation. But too much time and effort is wasted on faux efforts for PR’s sake, when real work and action would 1) accomplish more and 2) be better PR anyway. Thanks for your thoughts.

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