Getting Your Business Crisis Ready with Melissa Agnes

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Shareable Guest Club
Getting Your Business Crisis Ready with Melissa Agnes

On today’s episode, we are joined by the amazing Melissa Agnes.

Melissa has revolutionized exactly HOW a business can truly expect the unexpected, and even more than that, be extremely prepared for it.

Melissa has worked in countless industries- NATO, Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense, governmental agencies, global non-profits and many more. A leading voice in the risk management industry, she has hosted a Tedx talk and appeared in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, VIBE Magazine, and USA Today. Her book Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World highlights “The Crisis Ready Model,” a step by step implementation to create the strong foundation your business needs for ultimate brand protection. In today’s episode, we discuss the 5 steps of the model to ensure your business is prepared, no matter how extreme the circumstances.

So go ahead and listen to all the knowledge Melissa has to offer!

  • Running time: 41:55
  • Subscribe on iTunes and leave us a review…we’d love to hear from you.


What should businesses know about “The Crisis Ready Model?” (4:40)

Understand that mindset is EVERYTHING. It is not something you can create and put on a shelf for emergency use. Your crisis ready plan needs to permeate throughout your entire business, day in and day out.

So, what are the steps to actually create this framework? (5:33) 

There are five steps to the model:

1. (6:37) Designing an audit. Understanding the culture of your organization is everything. This means thinking about WHO your brand is, its place in the world, and what it stands for. In this case, an audit is a simple conversation- a way to get to know your organization’s mindset. Ask yourself the questions: How does your brand view and handle current negative events? How does your brand view itself?

2. (10:52) Understanding variables and impacts. This step is all about education. It requires developing alignment between every individual in your business in understanding the fast paced world that we find ourselves, in which a crisis can develop in seconds. It also involves creating a streamlined plan, getting everyone on board with their role in your business and the accountability required for what will be delivered.

3. (11:58) Identifying high-risk crisis scenarios and stakeholders. This is when the data collection starts happening. It requires you to think deeply about your business and its relation to risk management: What are the high risk scenarios your business is most vulnerable to? Who matters most to your business? Collect the information to tackle the next step based on your answers to these questions.

How do you start collecting data? (14:34) Collecting data means starting to understand any possible impacts you can possibly foresee for your business based on any scenario you can think of. Questions to consider: What is a crisis vs. an issue for your organization? Which are most likely to affect your brand? What is a worst case scenario for your business? What are the current strengths and weaknesses within your business currently?

What is the difference between an issue and a crisis? (16:34) A crisis is a situation that stops business as usual because it requires full attention in order to combat. It threatens a long-term material impact on one or all of the following:

-People -Environment -Business operations -The organization’s reputation -The organization’s bottom line

4. (24:04) Develop strategy and create a program. Use your now recorded knowledge of your business to create two things: a crisis ready playbook with specific action plans and resources and crisis communication handbooks, which have scenario-specific strategies ready to go. In order to create these, ask yourself these questions: -What will my employees expect from a crisis situation? -What can I anticipate from my business immediately after a crisis? -What will stakeholders demand from us in this sort of situation? -How can my team be in a place to accurately and emotionally anticipate crises in real time, while matching the expectations of the stakeholders?

Keep these items on hand at all times so that your business can use them in times of crisis for immediate relief.

5. (29:16) Implementation. All the planning is done…but what is planning without experience? Of course, a fairly accurate thing to say would be that crisis management is like insurance. You know you need it, but you hope you never have to use it. But in this case, being prepared for the absolute worst allows you to handle the smaller bumps in the road like a pro. Crisis management is not a plan that only comes out in times of emergency; it’s a daily culture that your business chooses to undertake, day in and day out. It’s all about being prepared, because in today’s ever-changing world, anything can happen.

How do you begin to implement your plan? (30:00) Every year or so, simulate each possible crisis to test your business’s response to them. In a controlled environment, bring in tools to make it feel as real as possible for your business team. Using your plan of action from Step 4, use role-players and tools to simulate social media to see how your business holds up against even the most threatening risk.


Melissa’s Website


Melissa on Twitter

Melissa on Facebook

Melissa on Linkedin

Melissa on Instagram


Email Jeff

 @JGibbard on Twitter

Jeff on Facebook

Jeff on Linkedin (make sure to introduce yourself)

Jeff on Instagram

Jeff on Snapchat


Email Caroline

Caroline on Twitter

Caroline on Instagram

 Caroline on LinkedIn

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