14 strategic questions to ask during the internal communications crisis – News Couple
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14 strategic questions to ask during the internal communications crisis


Contributed by Eden Gillott, a participant in the EO Accelerator program in Los Angeles. As president of Gillott Communications, a strategic and crisis communications firm, Eden helps companies protect their reputations and build trust. We asked Eden how she guides companies to overcome tough internal communications challenges and reduce brand damage. This is what she shared:

As entrepreneurs, we enjoy spending our time building. We build products or services that change the world; We build processes to improve our performance; We build teams to make our dreams a reality.

At EO, we’re no strangers to getting over Verne Harnish’s concept of “Valleys of Death.” To overcome these, we know we need to change. But what happens when the changes required to realize our dreams are not adequately communicated?

Overcoming an internal crisis

This was the position I found myself running as I advised and directed a company in dealing with a recent internal communications crisis after the turmoil erupted due to a sudden change of leadership. Management has been criticized for allowing the recruitment committee to hastily and secretly select candidates. The board approved the selection, and the new CEO was announced without explanation or context.

As you can imagine, this did not go well with the staff, who immediately started asking for answers. But it wasn’t until the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) suffered that management addressed the problem.

The company’s leadership decided to hold a special company-wide meeting to inform employees of the change but had no idea how to build and implement a strategy that would achieve their goals. Then we were called to solve the communications crisis. Our goal was to guide them through the process of repairing the company’s trust with employees and reducing bad optics externally.

Remember the rule: First, develop your strategy. Then Build your connections around it.

As my team gathers information to craft a winning strategy for our clients, we asked leadership about the current crisis and other relevant details that could define our way forward.

14 strategic questions to ask

Here’s a sneak peek at some questions to ask and answer before any other internal or external communications get out. The answers will influence how best we can frame the problem. They will also help us anticipate further setbacks and how to avoid them.

These 14 questions can help any company dealing with an internal communications crisis determine the ideal path forward:

  1. Is this a departure from the way management changes are usually handled? If so why? What does it differ from? Will this be the new normal?
  2. While the employees feel that they are ought to opinion, do they In fact You have the right to the selection process?
  3. Is the board of directors aligned with management? If not, then why?
  4. Will the special employee meeting focus only on the new CEO, or are there other issues also on the table?
  5. Is this the company’s first ever employee meeting? If not, how did the others go? What are the lessons learned? How will you avoid making the same mistakes again? What has changed since the last meeting?
  6. What is the culture of the organization? Is it open and transparent or candid and confidential?
  7. What has already been reported – in writing and orally – about the process and the new CEO?
  8. What is the background of the new CEO? Do they have a track record or a controversial past? Do they have skeletons in the closet?
  9. Do other potential candidates feel they have been “overtaken”, or did they not actually pursue the opportunity?
  10. Are unhappy, outgoing employees who routinely challenge the company’s business decisions?
  11. Are employees upset because their favorite wasn’t selected, or simply because they weren’t included in the process?
  12. In addition to all the changes associated with COVID, what are some other recent changes that employees have been through?
  13. How does this change in management fit into the company’s overall strategy for the future?
  14. Are more changes coming? If so, you should take it into account.

When things are done and said, you can’t cancel that bell. But you can strategize your next step to avoid aggravating the situation.

As entrepreneurs, time is not always on our side. But if that’s the case, take advantage of it. If the company had engaged its team in organizational change and communicated it through proactive strategic communications, it would have eliminated or reduced the need for damage control.

For more ideas and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out EO on Inc. And more articles from the EO Blog.



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