Creating a Crisis Management Plan for Your Organization

In the face of a crisis, is your organization prepared to deal with the issue before it grows? In this age of technology, it’s impossible to bury a scandal. The best thing to do in a bad situation is to have a solid crisis management plan to fall back on.

A crisis management plan is simply a document that outlines the processes an organization will use to respond to a critical situation that would negatively affect its reputation, ability to operate, or profitability. Creating a new document or optimizing a previous plan is beneficial for every organization. There are a few key pieces to a crisis management plan that organizations should have in order to be successful in handling a crisis or media nightmare.

1.  Anticipate the crisis and create scenarios.

Get your team together to brainstorm any potential issues that could cause a stir. Write down all of these ideas and create steps to take for each scenario. Perhaps a small change in your procedures could prevent a crisis.

2. Designate roles.

When a crisis occurs, tensions and nerves are running high. Instead of panicking and assigning roles on a whim, preset roles ahead of time. This will allow those assigned people to prepare themselves completely for any situation. Common roles to assign:

3. Resources.

In the heat of the moment, a detailed section of your plan with resources your employees can easily refer to will be extremely beneficial. These resources can be anything that is helpful to your business. For example, timelines, log in credentials, and specific processes.

4. Contact lists.

Frantically searching for contact information in a time of need is not a good look for an organization. Having a thorough list of contacts in your plan will erase the stress of finding the correct contact in a timely manner. At a minimum, your contacts should include:

5. Strategy and messaging for crises

Communication is key in the midst of a crisis. Keeping your team, employees, and stakeholders in the loop is extremely important to prevent loss of revenue and reputation. The difficult part of communicating is getting that material approved quickly. You should have strategies in place beforehand, so creating communications materials is simple and can go through the process of getting approved as fast as possible.

6. Action plans.

During a crisis, your team should not be wondering what the next step is going to be. From your scenario brainstorming session, create checklists for everything. It’s impossible to predict the future, so make these checklists as flexible as possible to ensure you’re hitting every possible point. Each task in a checklist should be assigned to a person so they know exactly what they must do.

Putting out the fire before it grows is the goal of a detailed crisis management plan. You may not think your organization is vulnerable to crises, but if it were to happen one day it is best to be prepared. Need help creating a plan? Public Strategies Impact offers crisis management services to develop a crisis plan and train your team for the media. We can also be the correspondent on your behalf. Find out more about PSI’s crisis management services here.

A Brief Overview of our Team’s top Specialties

As a firm who has been around for more than 30 years, we have gained team members from a wide-range of industries, backgrounds, and areas of government. That is why we are lucky to be able to say PSI specializes in so many different areas. Even though most of our partners specialize in more than one industry, here are their top areas of expertise:

Roger Bodman – Transportation

While Managing Partner Roger Bodman is an expert in many different areas, transportation is his specialty. He served as the chairman of New Jersey Transit and the State Commissioner of Transportation under former Governor Tom Kean, meaning he was the chief advisor to the governor on all transportation matters in the state.

Bill Maer – Law and Justice

With a career spanning more than 25 years, Senior Partner Bill Maer has developed expertise in the areas of law and justice, gaming, and pharmaceuticals. He is chief spokesperson for the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office and served on Governor Phil Murphy’s 2018 Law and Justice Transition Team.

Joe Simonetta – Regulated Professions

Joseph Simonetta has many decades of experience in association management and political advocacy. He served as chair of the Advocacy Committee of the American Institute of Architects IgCC Task Force and currently chairs the Advocacy Subcommittee, creating strategy for the AIA’s state and local chapters. He also specializes in healthcare, professional services, arts, hospitality, and tourism.

Joe DeSanctis – Energy and Environment

PSI Partner Joe DeSanctis has more than 25 years advocating for a diverse client base, but his specialties lie in energy, environment, utilities, and local government outreach. He has experience siting natural gas pipelines and other energy-related projects throughout the state and acquiring state and local permits in a timely manner.

Tracie DeSarno – Healthcare

A member of our team for more than 25 years, Tracie DeSarno specializes in healthcare, banking, entertainment, and telecommunications. She has represented clients in these industries and beyond on major legislative initiatives and served on Governor Phil Murphy’s 2018 Healthcare Transition Committee.

Matt Halpin – Finance and Real Estate

In addition to serving as an executive in our association management division, Matt Halpin specializes in finance, real estate, energy, and more. Having previously worked with the NJ Chamber, he is well-versed in broad-based issues, including economic development, international trade, and corporate taxation. Matt also serves corporate clients in managing the public affairs components of projects.

Josh Hodes – Education

Josh Hodes, partner, is an expert in education, energy, entertainment, sports, and redevelopment. He was appointed to the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority, where he currently serves as chair, and serves as an advisory board member to the New Leaders Council of New Jersey.

Ed Mount – IT and Procurement

With over 30 years of service in the public sector, Ed Mount has extensive experience and expertise in IT, procurement, and state government purchasing. He was on the New Jersey Information Resources Management Commission, the Office of Information Technology Governing Board, and the New Jersey Information Technology Leadership team.

John Holub – Retail

Joining our team last year, John Holub brings specialties in retail, pharmacy, chain restaurants, and more. He serves as president and CEO of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, executive director of the Pennsylvania Retailers’ Association, and executive director of the New Jersey Council of Chain Drug Stores. He represents more than 3,900 stores as the retail chief lobbyist.

Patrick Stewart – Regulated Professions

PSI Associate Patrick Stewart worked for the Assembly Republican Majority office staffing assembly committees, including the budget, consumer affairs, regulated professions, and labor committees. He has developed an expertise in regulated professions, healthcare, association management, and insurance and labor.

For a more complete overview of each of our team members, including their experiences and PSI specialties, please visit our team page.

March Cannabis Update

By the end of the month, New Jersey could become the 11th state in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use among adults. Legislators just approved a bill that could result in the development of a cannabis industry estimated to generate close to a billion dollars. With the last voting session fast approaching before a three-month break, both New Jersey lobbyists and citizen’s alike are wondering if the bill will gain the votes it needs to officially pass.

Where are we in the approval process?

Unfortunately, the bill has drawn a lot of controversy. Both supporters and opponents lined up to testify on behalf of the bill, but were met with a six-hour delay, causing many to leave before they could be heard. After the delay, only 25 minutes of testimony was heard and the measure was passed both through the Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committee.

Is the bill likely to pass?

The next four days will be crucial for New Jersey lobbyists and bill backers, including Governor Phil Murphy, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, and Senate President Stephen Sweeney, to cobble together enough votes to successfully pass the bill. With many lawmakers stating they are still on the fence about the issue, the fate of the bill is far from certain. Along with the bill are two others that are designed to expand the state’s current medical marijuana program as well as the expunging of records for offenders convicted of marijuana charges.

Why is the passing of the bill in New Jersey so significant?

Lawmakers are creating what they believe will be the gold standard of cannabis policy. It will also mark them as the first state to actually organize the reform through the legislature instead of using a ballot initiative. What is also impressive is the fact that this has occurred in less than two years. Just short of 10 years ago, they had a governor who was staunchly anti-cannabis. The bill was designed to not only address patients and adult recreational users but also concerns related to stock-holders, local government, and community needs.

Do you own a company trying to break into the possible billion dollar industry in the State of New Jersey? PSI can help. For more than 30 years, PSI has represented the interests of their clients before both the executive and legislative branches of state government. Use their experience and know-how to help successfully advocate your business’s position before those who are responsible for making it happen.


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