In Crisis Management, Your Silence is Deafening-Part Two

Business Communication. Crisis management is extremely important in today's evolving healthcare organizations.

Communication and crisis management are extremely important in today’s evolving healthcare organizations.


Crisis management is such an important topic in today’s complex healthcare landscape If you are in business for any length of time, sooner or later, you will be exposed to a crisis that can affect not only the company you work for, but your career as well. We have all experienced a vitriolic situation with a friend or family member that, once resolved, ultimately resulted in a stronger bond between the two individuals. In this posting I’ll discuss the assertions that effective communication is the key to crisis management and how timely and effective communication can actually result in a stronger organization.


“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”

General George S. Patton

Organizations that either don’t react, react slowly, or react improperly to adverse events will likely see erosion in brand equity, and in many cases, see forced resignations and firings at the C-level. As a native son of Pennsylvania, I am aware of no better example of poor crisis management than what resulted in the wake of the sex abuse scandal that rocked Penn State University in late 2011. The adverse effects of this modern-day Greek tragedy on Penn State resulted as much from poor communication as they did from the criminal behavior of University officials. A partial list of missteps includes: no visible leadership once the scandal broke, no message to the public for days, (which fueled the fire, let speculation run rampant & allowed the angry mob of public opinion convict coach Paterno without so much as a whiff of due process), and holding an obviously incendiary news conference late at night…did they really think there wouldn’t be an alcohol fueled student uproar?

The bottom line is that the public hates the unknown. If they know of trouble but don’t have a vision as to the likely outcome then the company stock, its corporate brand, and the personal brands of corporate executives and board members will be severely penalized. In the Penn State scenario, the public’s perception of Penn State and its leadership began to be shaped by the speculation and innuendo of the media zealots and other third parties, which differed radically from the facts of the situation.

In smaller organizations, even though a crisis may be largely confined to the four walls of your company you must keep in mind that the same principles apply. What your employees crave is clear, concise, and open dialogue in times of trouble. You must proactively shape the opinions of others as opposed to having others determine the perception of your corporate and personal brand. By being proactive in your approach to crisis management you turn breaking news, speculation and innuendo into old news by putting a face to a position. By taking a visible and open position, you will take the natural desire to create a corporate villain, and turn this instead into a positive outcome by offering evidence of a corporation and executive team that operates with honesty and transparency by taking swift, prudent, and corrective action address to the problems at hand.

When a crisis occurs you can run but you can’t hide so you have a choice to make. You can put your head in the sand and ignore the problem, you can skirt the issue, or you can take the bull by the horns and simply do the right things. Delaying the inevitable will result in increased scrutiny and eventually produce substantial negative consequences. Prompt communication is imperative to producing positive results. Get the issues out in the open, adopt a position, and do the right things regardless of short-term cost. If you subscribe to the latter tact as opposed to either of the former, you will give yourself the best chance of coming out on the right side of the fray and achieving enduring benefits to your organization.

To schedule a one to one free initial consultation with one of BHMs leading healthcare consultants please email us at or call us at 1-888-831-1171.  BHM consultants provide real value and measurable results to healthcare firms, government agencies, and insurers through data-driven and strategic management analysis, and assist organizations with Clinical Operations, Financial Management Improvement, Physician Advisor Services and Accreditation.

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