What We Can Learn From The Condo Collapse in Miami

The recent tragic condominium collapse near Miami showed once again how important being prepared for crisis management response can be. Tragedies happen. However, how we respond to them can be the difference between failed public relations and professionally crafted crisis management communication with government agencies, media and the public.

7 Things We Can Learn About Crisis Management From The Miami Condo Collapse

Let’s take a look at seven crisis management lessons that the condo collapse highlighted.

Be Proactive

Before any crisis occurs, it is best to act quickly to prevent the escalation of a potential problem. After the collapse of the Surfside condo, there was documentation that showed what state the condo had been in before its collapse. Various structures within the condo were in poor condition.

We cannot know for sure if these structural issues contributed to the collapse of the condo. However, the condo’s collapse could perhaps have been prevented had there been proactive steps taken that minimized structural risks.

The primary goal should always be to stop a crisis from happening in the first place.

Make Sure You Only Release Accurate Information

In any crisis, it’s important to handle information responsibly in order to refrain from causing more panic.

As with the condo collapse, authorities had to assess when to release important information regarding damages, injuries, and the death toll. By knowing when to release what, they were able to inform and console many loved ones during this tragic event.

By releasing inaccurate information too soon during a crisis, you could cause more public outrage. Although third parties may press for more information, it is better to ensure that the data is correct before releasing it. Not only will this improve your credibility, but it will also prevent a PR disaster.

Don’t Speculate

When a crisis hits, it’s tempting to compare it to similar disasters. Based on what happened during similar past events, one can easily speculate about what’s going to happen next. However, in the event of any crisis, you need to avoid speculation at all costs.

Wondering about the causes, effects, injuries, or tactics that may be used to solve a crisis is natural. But, by sharing your musings with the world, you could cause even more panic.

To keep everyone calm, you should always communicate responsibly. Rather than speculate, wait until you know all the facts before communicating with a third party.

Communication Is Critical

Crisis communication plays a vital role in managing any crisis effectively. How you communicate to your audience is very important. Avoid blaming anyone and don’t make any rash judgments. Instead, take your time assessing the situation and the outcomes of all your options.

If possible, it would be better to shift all the communication responsibilities to a firm that specializes in crisis management. This is exactly what the condominium association in Florida did after the condo collapse.

Be Transparent

In order to handle a crisis effectively, you have to be transparent. This can be hard, seeing as some of the details relating to a crisis can be upsetting. However, telling half-truths can not only damage your integrity but also cause more harm than good.

No matter how uncomfortable, the truth should be communicated clearly and tactfully. Once you have all the facts lined up, there should be no reason to not share all the pertinent information.

When the Florida condo collapsed, the public remained updated around the clock. This helped everyone come to terms with what happened.

Have A Crisis Plan In Place

No one wants to think that the worst possible disaster will strike their business. However, you still need to be prepared for anything. Not only will it help you to get back on your feet sooner, but it will also show leadership, thoughtfulness, and compassion.

Your company should have a crisis plan in place for every possible scenario that can affect your employees, customers, and your business itself. By having a crisis protocol in place, you can avoid panic and jump right into action mode when it’s needed.

When the condo collapsed in Florida, the condo association relied on many regulations and outside help to navigate the situation. Without a proper plan in place, it will take you much longer to get to the bottom of any crisis.

Be Flexible

Even if you are prepared, a crisis can still knock the wind out of your sails. In situations like these, you need to be flexible in how you manage a sticky situation. What would have worked six months ago may not work now. By objectively analyzing the situation, you will be able to make informed decisions much faster.

The condominium collapse in Florida triggered conversations about revising condominium regulations. To stay up to date with the latest requirements, you have to be flexible to accommodate changes in your regulatory environment.

Key Takeaways

The condo collapse was a tragic event that made worldwide headlines. However, we can learn from that loss and implement new crisis management protocols that will help prepare us to communicate more effectively with key stakeholders during the next disaster.

Leeza Hoyt

5 Critical Crisis Management Skills

When a crisis happens, companies in the greater Los Angeles area often look to a California public relations agency to manage the situation promptly and professionally.

Managing difficult situations after a crisis arises demands providing expert communication with media, government entities, customers, and company employees when a sticky situation arises. To handle any crisis properly, businesses must possess the following five critical management skills.

5 Essential Crisis Management Skills To Handle Situations Well

Anticipate

The first rule for Los Angeles Public Relations agencies is to be honest about the facts and to anticipate what’s to come when a crisis occurs. This means that you have to be mentally prepared, keep calm, and effectively relay your communications plan to the entire team and all stakeholders.

Initially managing their anxiety and being the voice of leadership and reason will calm the situation. Avoid being reactive or blaming others for the mistake. Also, be humble. An arrogant attitude can be extremely toxic in a crisis and won’t be conducive to solving the problem.

You need to anticipate what the media response will be ahead of time and favor a logical, analytical approach instead of being emotional. In doing so, you will prevent misinformation . You can establish the narrative before the media has a chance to run away with the story.

Communicate

The ability to communicate clearly, especially when dealing with a crisis, is a skill that can only be mastered over time. This includes being able to communicate with your employees as well as customers and the general public.

When a crisis arises, you need to communicate clearly, concisely, and in a timely manner. This helps to prevent panic and provide pertinent information to all the parties that need it.

Not communicating with all the people that will be affected by a crisis, will likely lead others to come to their own conclusions. This is never a good thing when trying to contain the situation.

Make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to new developments. Release internal communication before anything is announced to the public. Finally, make sure that you provide everyone with updated action plans.

Listen

Before jumping headfirst into managing a crisis, it is important that the public relations agency you hired fully understand the crisis at hand. This means that you have to be willing to first listen to what your PR agency has to say and then listen to what the wronged party has to say.

This process will require you to actively listen, not only to what is being said but also to what is not being said. To truly make everyone feel like they are being heard, you need to first know what you did wrong and why this is so upsetting. Empathy and listening to understand, rather than to respond, will go a long way to achieving this goal.

Learn

Any Los Angeles public relations agency will tell you that managing a crisis gets easier the more you do it. In other words, there is a lot of room to grow in this area and to learn from your mistakes.

If it’s possible, take the time to learn from other businesses in similar industries to see how they handle sticky situations. By learning from other’s mistakes, you can avoid making them yourself.

However, if you find that you didn’t manage a crisis effectively, it’s not the end of the world. Just be sure to learn from your mistakes. Analyze your decision-making process and determine where exactly you went wrong.

Any Public Relations agency worth their salt will tell you that this is a learning process. So, don’t be too hard on yourself or your employees.

Lead

As a business owner, your schedule is probably full. However, when it comes to managing a crisis, your employees will still expect you to take the reins and control the situation effectively. This means you have to be proactive and not be afraid to call in help when the situation calls for it.

By hiring a great PR agency, you can keep any crisis from escalating and make sure that everybody stays on the same page. In situations like this, it is vital that you explain the reasoning behind your strategy to your employees ahead of time. This helps you gain their backing and their support. 

Key Takeaways

By mastering these five critical crisis management skills, your business will be able to impress your employees and retain your clients during any crisis. And, with the expert help of a California public relations agency, you never have to be caught off guard when a less than ideal situation unfolds in the public eye.

Nick Luvera

How To Prepare Your Company For A Crisis

When the fire first started, it was a small incident confined to the 27th floor of the high-rise building. By the time the fire department was finished, the entire building had been damaged, and the evening news reported that the building was closed.

What would you do if this were your business? For most businesses, how a crisis is handled may very well be the key to whether the company survives. Sound scary? It does not have to be. Chances are for any business lifecycle, management will face a crisis.

Business owners are particularly vulnerable. Caught in between bringing in new business and managing the day-to-day operations, considering the development of a crisis management plan isn’t unusually a priority – until something happens.

Just as no individual expects to have an accident, company management usually does not expect to encounter an explosion, a major fire or a bomb threat.

Unfortunately, every business during its lifetime will face a crisis. It may be a crisis related to the company’s products, or a natural disaster that is a totally random act. Thus, the question becomes not if it happens, but when.

While management certainly cannot control when a crisis happens, they can indeed plan for the unplanned. Certainly, much of this should be simply part of the day-to-day operational attitude of the company. This will assist in preventing panic when something does happen.

WHAT CAN I DO NOW?

While true crisis management takes time, for those that have not had a chance to begin the process, three basic steps can at least start management thinking along the right lines.

The objective is simple. First, begin to investigate steps that might prevent any disasters. Second, establish stand-by measures that must be activated when an emergency occurs. Third, and perhaps most important, formulate a follow-up plan to reinforce the company’s excellent reputation.

Prepare

Begin to investigate steps that will prevent disasters. The first step is relatively simple. Start with basic procedures, such as when was the last time a fire drill was held? Given that senior-level management may be out of the office, is there a staff person that is familiar with the facilities? Now would be an excellent opportunity for the entire staff to familiarize themselves with basic operational procedures.

Next, what are the most likely situations that the company will face? This may include fire, earthquake or tornadoes, equipment failure, product recalls, shootings, store closures or bankruptcies.

Then, establish the emergency response team, including a designated media spokesperson. Make sure the lines of responsibility are delineated and all necessary information is prepared in advance. Then, put the plan in writing.

Review and Respond

Once the preliminary preparations have been started, begin reviewing the procedures with the entire staff. Practice scenarios to determine whether the plan will work properly.

Institute the communications plans with specific target audiences in mind such as employees, clients and the public. Don’t forget equipment back-up for computers and any other equipment.

Finally, make sure someone has been assigned and is prepared to act as the liaison with the media during and after the incident. Depending on the company, there may be an on-site representative as well as a coordinating off-site corporate spokesperson.

Recovery

Don’t forget to include a recovery program with a pro-active approach to employee, client and public communications. Once the cleanup plans are in place, other action items may include media relations and social media campaigns.

Naturally, a proactive approach begins with developing relationships with the police department, the fire department, and the media in advance. By establishing these relationships in advance, the excellent credibility of the company will already be in place, should a crisis occur.

WHAT ABOUT THE MEDIA?

The very nature of a crisis makes dealing with the media difficult. The crisis itself may still be underway while the interviews are in progress. What should be said? Who should be the spokesperson? Should a press conference be called?

Much of the basic information for the company can be prepared in advance. These may include fact sheets, descriptions, photos, product information and facility information. Local contact sheets, which should contain home and emergency contacts for everyone on staff, should be updated and handy.

When in doubt, remember the following:

  • Tell the truth. Don’t speculate or pretend that nothing happened, when in fact something did.
  • Remember, this too shall pass. Hopefully, if the crisis is handled correctly, it won’t be long before this particular disaster will be nothing more than yesterday’s news.
  • Get it over with. Gather the facts, determine what must be said, and say it. If there are delays, determine when the information will be available and let the press know. Then, make sure the deadline is met.

At THO, we understand that your company’s reputation is the single most important ingredient to your success. Let us be your guide during the most critical times. Give us a call to see how you can add crisis communications strategies to your toolbelt. 

Nick Luvera

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Make us your first call if you’re launching a new product or service, re-branding or encounter a need for media relations or crisis communications. We’re here for you:

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