CRISIS AND CONFLICT COMMUNICATION
Many (dormant) reputation issues originate from inadequate communication. That is why they escalate as well. Parties dig in, react out of emotions running high, communicate through lawyers and are trying to prove they are right instead of trying to solve the conflict. This may lead to value destruction and damaged (personal) reputations.
Advice from independent experts on do’s and don’ts in direct contact with the other party, if and how to react in the media, and how to involve other alliances and venues are of great value when reputation is under pressure. Because - fortunately – organizations themselves do not have much expertise with these matters.
This involves overview and distance, knowing the rules, knowing how things are run, how management, board members and stakeholders think and what they are afraid of. It involves courage too, the courage to keep a straight back and to mutually define the issues at hand.
Board room conflicts
Dormant (media-sensitive) conflicts within the top result in loss of mutual confidence and in suboptimal collaboration. A structured approach to restore good governance relationships can prevent the conflict spinning out of control and becoming publicly known.
Conflicts with external parties
Conflicts with stakeholders often reach (also due to the use of social media) the public domain. The story is out and cannot be retrieved. A swift and appropriate response can prevent unnecessary escalation. Identifying and having a good understanding of stakeholder’s interests and allies (often unexpected coalition partners) is crucial for successful de-escalation.
Mistakes and accidents
Accidents happen and can suddenly be defining for the entire organization when not acted upon swiftly and adequately. This can be difficult, because of yet unclear liabilities and other legal consequences . It’s essential to be as transparent as possible and to bring the issue back to its proper proportions without seeming to sweep it under the carpet.