We will all be exposed to a dire situation in our lives, the question is when and of what magnitude. What determines our capacity is how we face the situation that is presented to us, and the form of response to it. Hence, the first 60 minutes as the situation is addressed can make a big difference.

In my 20+ years exposed to crisis communications and situations, I have learned many lessons about incident planning and management, with the Golden Hour being one of the most important.

In incident management, as in emergency medical care, what is done in the first 60 minutes determines, in most cases, whether the event to which we have been exposed remains manageable or explodes into a complete crisis. That is why we have advocated implementing MORE than a Crisis Manual, but response systems based on an inventory of risks given the nature and industry where we operate.

Event zero occurs and the crisis begins. Unfortunately, most companies only have a system that simply sends emails or reports via calls and whatsapp messages to a certain team. There are others that have gone further, and in order to comply with the requirements imposed by regulatory organizations, they prepare their Crisis Manual which, in the best of cases, is shelved full of dust in some office. If your company is one of these, we regret to inform you that it is not ready to face even a slight cold.

With all the challenges, obstacles and realities that crisis management demands today, when the company’s leadership accesses the Manual and plan, often outdated, the story is already far ahead, even viral, with stakeholders demanding answers to your questions. Concerns, and speculation everywhere, and the informative spokesman in control of third parties, because it catches us off guard.

The recent past has shown us that improvisation and lack of planning is not the best companion. Being prepared for the crisis means that every department and team is equipped to respond to a negative event when it occurs; actively works every day to build trust with internal and external audiences; It is trained to make intelligent decisions in times of high pressure, putting the well-being of people as a priority, above security protocols. Action is taken immediately, the situation is not expected to escalate. Being prepared is being able to resist the bad, transforming any negative situation into something that has a positive result under a framework of transparency, trust and credibility.

Lara Guerrero

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