The biggest “X” to hit the fan in 2017 had to be the Equifax data breach. After all, when you let 145 million people down, that is a pretty big deal. The embarrassment reached new heights when the CEO admitted he wasn’t sure if the company was encrypting its customers’ data. Out of the millions who were affected, many didn’t feel Equifax was doing enough to handle the crisis.
- Don’t panic. We all know that person who doesn’t deal well under pressure. When “X” hits the fan, you don’t want to be that person. Instead, be calm, cool, and collected. If you trust that you’ll get to the right place, those who follow you will too.
- Get the facts. Understand what caused the problem to happen. Don’t leave any area untouched. When leaders know exactly what they’re dealing with, they are more prepared to fix it.
- Make a good decision based on those facts. Once you determine what caused the issue, the next step is to assess the “X” and make a plan to resolve the problem.
- Tell everybody what you are going to do and why. Once you know how to tackle the problem, you need to alert anyone who has been affected by the crisis. Let them know the steps you’ve taken to understand the issue, and then tell them what you plan to do about it.
- Layout what you’ll do to make sure it will never happen again. This is most important. As a leader, you need to show people that you care when things go wrong. When an organization proves it has learned from its mistakes, and promises to keep them from happening again, that earns trust.
Another way to earn trust is to make sure your communication is bullet proof and weasel proof. Be 100% clear about what you know. Don’t leave out information or only address certain issues. If you’re being inconsistent, or hiding certain facts, someone will point it out. Be forthcoming and don’t give anyone a reason to question you. You’ll be the leader everyone wants around when the next crisis hits.