“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Smart, true and useful advice from Benjamin Franklin you’ve undoubtedly heard. But you may not know that Franklin was thinking about fire safety when he coined that maxim. Franklin was instrumental in organizing Philadelphia’s first fire company in 1736. Is there anything that guy couldn’t do?
Much of my work with clients involves crafting smart and effective substantive responses to hard public issues they might face in the future, whether occasioned by a crisis, litigation or some other controversy.
But even the most compelling, data-validated messages are of no benefit if internal organizational processes aren’t nimble enough to allow them to be created, approved and shared with the right audiences. Therefore, equal rigor must be devoted to process, so all of this often very nuanced work can occur at the speed necessary in today’s immediate media culture.
I work with clients on both substance and process to conduct reputational risk audits, tabletop exercises, crisis drills, mock press conferences and interviews, or even full-blown mock congressional hearings when needed. If you must go under the klieg lights, you should practice first – with experienced coaches who will tell you how you really did and how you might do better.
While I have had many successes in helping clients deal with difficult situations who did not have the benefit of planning, these times always remind me of the truth of Franklin’s words. Make the time to prepare. You’ll be glad you did.