How to Create a Crisis Management Plan



This week we’re talking about crisis management. Sure, this may seem like a good time to talk about it … we’re in the middle of a crisis these days, after all.

But most people would tell you that the best time to talk about crisis management is BEFORE the crisis.

And I agree with them, but that’s not always realistic.

Why? Because a crisis can take many forms, including an illness, an accident, or a natural disaster. In that case, it’s not easy to predict every situation that could happen to you, or your business, or the company where you work. So, to get started, you just need to ask yourself these two questions:

  1. How will my business (or department) continue if the crisis happens to me?
  2. How will I lead if the crisis happens to my business (or department)? 

These are the two situations that will impact you the greatest. The more you think and prepare for either of these situations, the more likely you are to ride the crisis with some level of success.

So, to get you started, here are five articles about crisis management, including plans, templates, research, email campaigns, and tips & techniques for effective crisis leadership.

1. The ultimate guide to crisis management.

This article by Hubspot provides free downloadable crisis communication templates, a full outline of what a crisis management plan looks like, and a step-by-step process for creating your own crisis management plan. It’s a thoroughly informative reference that takes you through the many ways a crisis can impact your business and your employees, or teams.

2. Five leadership skills to best manage a crisis.

The Management Training Institute focuses on helping its audience build the strong management skills needed to bring projects to completion and vision to life. In this post, they share five simple leadership skills that will help diffuse any panic among employees during uncertain times.

3. Seven critical steps to crisis management.

Here’s a throwback article from Inc. that talks about the importance for leaders of having a clear communication plan when navigating a crisis. How big of a throwback is this article? Well it’s from 2014 and refers to the BP gulf oil spill and the Ebola crisis. This article also highlights the importance of having a succession plan. A succession plan is especially important if the crisis involves your inability to lead.

4. All about crisis management. 

If you’re one of those people who really likes to dive into research, then I have you covered.  The Institute for Public Relations and the Free Management Library each have extensive online resources on how to define a crisis, how to prepare for a comprehensive crisis response, and how to repair a damaged reputation. There are links here to many more articles, reports, and research to help you understand how a crisis can impact a company.

5. The psychology behind effective crisis leadership.

This article by Harvard Business Review goes deep into the impact your actions (or inactions) have on the people around you. As a person in a position of authority, people will look to you for direction and hope. This article discusses the importance of not only having a vision for the future, but also of being able to hold your team emotionally while they navigate uncertainty. It’s this skill that, when used effectively, builds trust among employees who are worried.


Christina Holloway is an executive coach and business coach. She helps executives and entrepreneurs grow their companies faster, create results-driven teams, and increase profitability. She has been featured in ForbesThe Huffington PostAddicted2Success and Fast Company. If you’re interested in working with Christina, take a look at her strategy sessions and contact her to get started.

Christina Holloway