After reading chapter 3 of Management Communication: A Case-Analysis Approach, the section, Crisis Communication really caught my attention. I love studying and working with crisis communications because of the amount of things you learn and can take from it. After O’Rourke gives examples and events that represent a crisis, he continues into the next part of the section drawing a line between business problems and a genuine problem. On page 32, according to author Lawrence Barton defined “problems” being a commonplace in business…. a crisis is a major, unpredictable event that has potentially negative results.” The entire section on defining a crisis is very interesting. What makes an “event” a problem or a crisis? I believe that any type of crisis, can be one thing to one person and one thing to another. That is what is so fascinating about crisis communication because of all the definitions we see and read about, a crisis is different to everyone, the we we handle and communicate during the crisis, or “problem”, is what is important to focus on.
I work for SFA athletics and have for a few years. I see things every day get changed last minute putting employees in a bind and sometimes “problems”. Just recently, I was dealing with putting the football media guide together. Part of my job is getting the advertisements from companies around the east Texas area to be sponsors for the football team this year. This was my first year doing it, so I was a little freaked out and it was quite a bit of pressure, because the design and the advertisements that year rested on my shoulder. Ads were sent it along with the money and it was my job to send them to the right people and get it all done the correct way.
Sounds pretty simple right? The last day of submitting the ads to the printer didn’t come soon enough. I thought everything was great! I got the correct ads in the correct places and once it was all submitted, there was an extreme stress load off my back. That was until about a week ago when I got a call from a local business telling me their ad was last years ad, not the one they submitted for this year. To everyone else in the office, this was a commonplace problem. To me, being it was my first time doing this and it was printed wrong, it was a little bit of a crisis. It was my only mistake I made with that program, and working as hard as I did on it, it was a crisis for me to see it messed up. Why was it a crisis? Aside from the hard work put into it, I had to, and still am, scramming around looking for ways to fix it because it is on a non-printable page. I have been looking at places stickers on top of it, seeing how much it would take to re-do the whole program. This may sound like a stupid thing to most people, but we have a reputation to keep up with our sponsors and a mess up can cause it to be affected. One of my bosses told me that everything was going to be okay, and I could see to them that this was just a “problem”. The most important thing that came out of this though, is that it forced me to confront and communicate with the sponsor about the mess up, talk with my bosses and learn how to prevent this next time; double checking MULTIPLE times.
This example of crisis communication because it focused on how Barton defined a crisis and how my example was a good one on seeing something as a crisis from my view, while someone else saw it just as a commonplace problem, but at the end of the day we all handled it the same way.
Crisis happen everyday and aren’t planned; just like a problem. We run into them everyday in different times. It could be work, family, relationship, with a random person on the street, etc. The most important that we learn from this chapter and this class, is the way we deal and communicate with it. How we can prepare for a crisis or a problem and how to handle them when they happen.