February 17th, 2020

Here’s crisis management expert and author Edward Segal’s latest advice, insights, and perspectives about how companies, organizations, and individuals in the news are responding to and managing their crisis situations.

Resignations Can Often Follow Scandals

One result of a crisis can be the resignations or firings of top officials of the company or organization where the crisis occurred. They may not always be the right or prudent thing to do in every instance, but the firings and resignations can quickly satisfy demands that “someone must pay for this” and “heads must roll.”

The latest example is the resignation last week of Troy Price as the chair of the Iowa Democratic Party. The organization continues to be the butt of jokes after the app meltdown at the first Democratic caucuses of this election year.

Managing Expectations about a Crisis

It is important to manage people’s expectations about when and how a crisis will be addressed or resolved. The World Health Organization did just that when they announced last week that a vaccine to combat the Wuhan coronavirus could be available in 2022.

The agency held a news conference where World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that, “The first vaccine could be ready in 18 months, so we have to do everything today using the available weapons to fight this virus.” He noted that, “the development of vaccines and therapeutics is one important part of the research agenda. But it’s only one part. They will take time to develop — but in the meantime, we are not defenseless.'” (Source: The Hill newspaper)

Avoiding Another Fiasco

It’s always better to learn from the mistakes of others so that you do not repeat them yourself. That’s what the Nevada Democratic Party has apparently tried to do in the aftermath of the recent Iowa caucuses app debacle.

The bad news is that Nevada officials had already paid $50,000 to the app company that was behind the Iowa crisis, and were planning to use a similar app in their own election.

The good news is that when news reports surfaced about the problems with the Iowa app, Nevada party officials cancelled plans to use it and found alternative methods to tabulate and report the results. As reported by CNN, “In a statement, state Democratic Party Chairman William McCurdy II promised that Nevada’s caucuses on February 22 will not be a repeat of Iowa’s. ‘We will not be employing the same app or vendor used in the Iowa caucus,’ he said. “We had already developed a series of backups and redundant reporting systems, and are currently evaluating the best path forward.”

But it never pays to become complacent or over-confident about avoiding or dealing with a crisis. Will the Nevada Democratic Party — and election officials in other states — be able to avoid the same fate as their counterparts in Iowa? Or will they face a different kind of crisis?

Everyone will be watching to see what happens.


Edward Segal is the author of the forthcoming book on crisis management: Crisis Ready — 101 Ways to Prepare for and Bounce Back from Disasters, Scandals, and other Emergencies (Nicholas Brealey/Hachette) which is now available for pre-orders at Amazon.com

For information about Segal and his new book, go to GetCrisisReady.com.