March 20th, 2020
We’ve had to deal with several health crisis situations over the past 100+ years, such as the Spanish flu in 1918, polio, AIDs, etc. In general terms, the response by federal governments to these and other public health emergencies has often followed a similar and disappointing pattern: ignore it, deny it, hope it goes away, finally acknowledge the severity of the crisis, then play catch-up to deal with it. We are now in the “play catch-up to deal with it” phase of the coronavirus pandemic.
Unfortunately, there are too many fresh lessons to learn from this still unfolding coronavirus crisis. While the mistakes that have already been made cannot be corrected, we must ensure that they will not be repeated.
It’s always better, of course, to learn from the mistakes of others than having to learn the hard way what you should have done. That’s especially true in the rapidly worsening COVID-19 crisis, which is creating its own crisis for companies and organizations in the US and around the world.
As a crisis management consultant and author, I think it is important to point out the top eight mistakes President Trump has made so far in responding to and managing this public health emergency — and hat every company and organization should avoid repeating in their own way during this or any crisis:
Failure #1: Being unprepared.
Failure #2: Waiting too long to act.
Failure #3: Not telling the truth.
Failure #4: Underestimating the impact of the crisis.
Failure #5: Putting the wrong person in charge.
Failure #6: Saying or doing anything not supported by the facts.
Failure #7: Contradicting the experts.
Failure #8: Blaming others.
I’m also sharing below the link to a recent article I wrote for a magazine published by the National Association of REALTORS® on how how organizations can steer through a crisis. Though written for real estate audiences, the advice applies to associations and organizations in all industries and professions.
While we grapple with the current crisis,, it is not too early to start preparing for the next crisis — because history shows there will always be a next crisis. The sooner we start getting ready for it, the sooner we will be ready for the next crisis when — not if — it strikes.
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 Distribution)
Learn more about Crisis Ready and pre-order at: https://amzn.to/2qTbCfi