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CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS: WHAT EVERY CEO SHOULD KNOW Alesa Lightbourne, Ph.D. Assistant Dean, Global BBA Program S P Jain Center of Management

AGENDA Things you probably already know (review) Things you probably DON’T know Action list for better preparedness

YOU ALREADY KNOW You must have a plan before the crisis Crisis management plan ≠crisis communications plan Plans take a lot of time and expertise

BEST PRACTICES Keep plan updated (study recent crises) Assign alternate members of team Allow for cultural differences Practice both onsite and “away� crises Mandate media training for all involved Do practice run

USING INTERNET – A MUST Google and Japan earthquake



TOOLS AirAlertTM – connect crisis comm team members,

operations, external audiences, dedicated website Hootsuite – manage Twitter, Facebook, Linked In Backtype, Social Mention – monitor online conversations using keywords




THINGS YOU CAN’T KNOW Who What When Where How How you (and others) will personally react…

COMMUNICATION STYLES Yourself Team members Others (media, victims, regulators)

FOUR BASIC STYLES Aggressive Passive Passive-aggressive Assertive

CEOs think they are ‌



OR …

IN TIMES OF PANIC We revert to behavior of parent This is irrational / we can’t help it We can use knowledge of types to maximize strengths

of team members

LET’S FIND OUT MORE Take assessment Fill out answer sheet Add columns

FOUR TYPES G + D = Driver O + D = Expresser O + I = Relater G + I = Analyzer

Most people combine several types We can be different types in different circumstances

DRIVER Commander Gets job done Decisive, risk taker Good at delegating Fearless Results-oriented

Norman Schwarzkopf

EXPRESSER Talkative and optimistic Impulsive, full of ideas Values enjoyment Spontaneous and flamboyant Loves to brainstorm Impulsive

Oprah Winfrey

RELATER Relationship-oriented Easy-going, likes steady pace Harmonizer Good listener Dislikes contrary opinions Concerned about others’ feelings

Mother Teresa

ANALYZER Rational and idea-oriented Highly organized Cautious, logical, thrifty Quick to think, slow to speak Values accuracy and being right Plans thoroughly

Alan Greenspan

ACTIVITY 3 blessings of your nature 3 curses of your nature 3 things you’re likely to do in a crisis

APPLY YOUR KNOWLEDGE Who makes the best: Media spokesperson Budget controller Victim relations person Overall decision maker What potential dangers arise from each?

ACTION ITEMS Revisit your communication crisis plan Add Internet aspects Assess communication styles on your team Predict responses in crisis Adjust responsibilities accordingly

RESOURCES  Alessandra & O’Connor. The Platinum Rule. New York: Warner Books, 1996.  Bernstein, Jonathan. “The 10 Steps of Crisis Communications.”  Lukaszewski, James. “Seven Dimensions of Crisis Communication

Management.”  Simpliflying. “Five Steps to Successful Crisis Management for Airlines in the

Age of Social Media.”  Valtat, Aurelie. “The Ash Cloud, Crisis Communications & Social Media – the

Eurocontrol Story.” Interview posted at, Apr 30, 2010.


Alesa Lightbourne, Ph.D.

Crisis Communications: What every CEO should know  

Prof. Alesa Lightbourne, Assistant Dean at S P Jain Center of Management shares steps every CEO should know during a crisis or a panic situa...

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