Imagine the worst: within the last 72 hours, your company has been hit by a major crisis. There may have been serious damage to the community in which you operate. Your customers may have suffered, people’s livelihoods may have been destroyed, the environment may be irretrievably damaged. Some of your employees and contractors may be injured, or worse. Your investors will be livid, and the board looking to assign blame. By the end of the first week, chances are your organisation will be facing dozens of lawsuits, some set to become class actions over time.
At this early stage, you will realise that verifiable facts are few and far between. Opinions and rumours abound. You will have little or no idea of the extent of any physical or financial damage, or to what degree the organisation was complicit in the event. You do not even know which of your top team you can count on. Some of them may be implicated; others may be operationally inexperienced, unfamiliar with the political realities, or temperamentally unsuited to the new situation – filled with good intentions, but uncertain what role to play.