What If the Unthinkable Happens?
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Posted by: George Linial
Do you know the answer to the age-old question – “What if 60 Minutes shows up at your door?” We never think that would happen at our workplace. But we live in a world full of uncertainties.
Heaven forbid, what if one of your staff or residents acquired the Coronavirus? What if an employee was stealing from residents? What if one of the residents happened to be the mother of a local news anchor who decided to air a full-blown expose on the lack of safety in your community?
Unfortunately, in the Dallas area, this became much too real when it was discovered that a serial killer preyed upon residents in senior living apartments and senior living communities. The story continues to evolve and while the alleged killer has been apprehended, the fears about safety continue.
Are you prepared to address regional media, local media, local and state officials, residents, families, and the community at large if something unthinkable happens?
On April 2, LeadingAge Texas is hosting a day-long Crisis Communications Workshop in Austin. This training led by three public relations professionals will provide some practical lessons on dealing with the media when a crisis occurs. I urge all member communities to send staff, particularly those who would address the media if/when a crisis situation occurs.
More than a century ago, Louis Pasteur said, “Chance favors only the prepared mind.” By this he meant that sudden flashes of insight don't just happen— they are the products of preparation. Preparation, therefore, is the key to a successful and fulfilling career. I would adapt this adage to any crisis situation. Dealing with a crisis favors the prepared organization – otherwise the crisis can become catastrophic.
We prepare for all kinds of events in our field like state surveys, construction projects, celebrations large and small, etc. We have disaster plans for weather occurrences like hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires. However, crisis communications is an area where we can all improve our preparations.
George Linial, CAE, CASP
President & CEO, LeadingAge Texas