How to deal with a crisis (at home, at work, in life)

Posted on 17/05/2017


Not everyone has deep experience of managing ‘crisis’. And not everyone works in PR. But this list of tips from a16z’s Crisis Communications podcast seems broader than just that – there are lessons here for any crisis you might face at your company, in your career or even at home.

So here are my crib notes from the podcast. Better to be prepped before a crisis than wait for one to happen.

What is a crisis?
Anything and everything that severely impacts your [business, relationship, family] and how people perceive it externally.

10 Golden Rules Of Crisis Management

  1. Never waste a crisis. It’s an opportunity to improve and also make sure so it never happens again.
  2. After a crisis never talk about what happened. Instead, focus on what you are doing to change this.
  3. How you establish your culture before a crisis can help you overcome one. From the values you follow (transparency, trust), to the relationships you hold inside and outside your organisation, through to your ability to bring people together to resolve the crisis.
  4. Spot the crisis in its early stages and respond. The earlier you call it, the quicker you can start working on it.
  5. Crises happen whether you prepare or not. Live with it, deal with it and improve from it.
  6. When you eat shit don’t nibble. In other words, tackle the whole crisis don’t hope that some of it goes away. And start quickly.
  7. Never lie (to the media). Lying during a crisis screws you over and makes it near impossible to overcome. You can of course share your story, or decline to comment.
  8. You never know when the crisis will end. Because you’re not in control.
  9. The crisis isn’t over when the stories stop. It ends when you rectify the problem and improve.
  10. Don’t rush your comeback. Make enough progress before you talk about it publicly. You only get one comeback, so make sure there’s a lot to say about how you’ve changed.

Lessons for life, as much as for any startup.