By Joseph Grano

Crises are inevitable. Every organization at some point will be confronted with a crisis communications challenge, whether internal or external. Ultimately, it’s our ability to manage and navigate through this challenge that will define us as leaders. While much has been written about this topic, there are a few core tenants to follow that will enhance your ability to handle crisis communications challenges and build a culture of trust and accountability.

Preparation is key. Start by assessing the situation to fully understand and remediate the crisis at hand. Knowledge is power, and gathering intelligence is core to your success when dealing with a crisis situation. Fully understanding the facts, the players involved and any outside influences will help you objectively assess the situation and create meaningful conversation and collaboration. Once facts are gathered, begin to develop a communications strategy to address each issue.

Demonstrating your ability to objectively listen and make informed decisions in a crisis communications situation will create an atmosphere of trust. If you respect each stakeholder’s position and perception of the situation at hand, you are more likely to resolve the issue in an expedient and proficient manner. This will also ensure that you address all concerns and offer timely, effective and valid solutions that will cultivate sustainable results.

Preparing for, and learning from, crisis communications situations will benefit us as coaches, consultants, leaders, agents of change and team members in any organization. We must then sustain the conversation and continuously grow.

About the Author

Joseph S. Grano, Jr., has a record of success providing vision and strategic direction to organizations experiencing rapid growth and change. He is one of those rare individuals who have made a successful transition from corporate leader to entrepreneur and owner of his own growing company.

With more than 25 years of comprehensive marketing communications, business development and public relations experience, he has held key executive management positions in healthcare, technology and financial services. They include leadership roles as chief marketing officer at two public health systems and as vice president of marketing for a health information organization and a pharmaceutical technology firm, in one case leading marketing efforts that grew revenue from $40 million to $120 million.

In 2005, Joe founded Next-Mark, LLC leveraging his years of managing award-winning corporate marketing and communications for private, public and international organizations. There, he has built a practice that boasts an international client base representing some of the most noted brand in healthcare, retail and technology, among others. He is a selected member of the Forbes Agency Council and is a regular published contributor on

Joe is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo and has an M.B.A. from the F. W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College in Massachusetts. A sought-after professional speaker, executive performance coach and facilitator, he has served as an adjunct professor of business at the graduate and undergraduate levels.