Crisis Communications: Finish your mission
I took this picture of my daughter, Nina, yesterday. No filters, no editing. Certainly there are some photographic flaws. But viewed broadly, it’s a simple and beautiful photo: girl, paddleboard, water, and sunset.
Then this image got me thinking about this oft-quoted passage: “You had a purpose before anyone had an opinion. Finish your mission.”
In a crisis, clients are often faced with many moving parts, complicated facts, perhaps flaws in operations or systems or behaviors that can feel overwhelming to make sense of when the public is forming harsh judgments and opinions about us.
To determine how best to communicate in the midst of crisis or other critical issue, we must think in objectives: what is the objective of any communication that needs to happen (and all too often, happen quickly). In crafting those communications, here’s two thoughts:
- We must stay focused on our purpose. For example, for any business or organization that finds itself in a crisis or facing some other critical issue, the inquiry is, why do we do what we do? How do we serve our customers and clients? For an individual, the inquiry could be, what is my life work’s purpose? How have I used my special skills and talents to serve others? When we consider these questions, we can put in better context the crisis at hand and gain perspective on how to communicate about what has happened (or about to happen) and what you are doing to address it, consistent with your purpose.
- Then we carry forward in fulfilling our mission. So many times I have advised clients as follows: address the problem, communicate about the problem with compassion and sensitivity, and then get back to business. Move forward. Keep doing the work. Focus on your mission.
These of course are simple concepts that may become more complicated in practice. But when we distill any crisis in this context, down to these two important ideas, it can be help us better focus our communications. It makes for more effective and clear communication. It forges more impactful connection.
I hope this picture and these words reach you not in a crisis. But if you are dealing with something difficult, perhaps they provide some insight about the importance of your purpose and finishing your mission.
My best, always.