China’s crisis management has lessons for the world

crisis management
crisis management


Failing to prepare is preparing to fail

All worlds, all nations face a coronavirus crisis (COVID-19) everyone is racing to limit its catastrophic effects, whether on humans, economy or industry. What distinguishes the china performance in coronavirus crisis (COVID-19) crisis management is response, discipline, rigor and Optimization all resources (Human, material, finance or technological) very effectively.

And as President Sadat said before the October 1973 victory, the most dedicated,  intelligent and prepared, he would win. Therefore, all organizations had to prepare themselves for the worst.

First we need define what is the crisis management?

There are many definitions to crisis but I prefer to define it by some key elements what constitutes a crisis.

a. A crisis is defined as a threat to operations that can have negative consequences if not handled properly and fast.

b. In crisis management, the threat is the potential harm that a crisis can do to an organization, its stakeholders, reputation and industry.

If you don’t prepare, you will incur more damage, effective crisis management handles the threats sequentially. The primary key in a crisis management is the communication (internal and external) issues related to crisis response.

a). Accidental disaster:

Accidental disasters are those that happen unintentionally by human cause like fire in an organization can destroy workplace also accident can happen in field like construction, mining, petroleum ……etc .

b).Natural disaster:

Are generally environmental crises that are beyond human ability to prevent like tornadoes, Earthquakes, floods and tsunami are good examples of natural disasters.

c).Technology disaster:

A technological disaster is a catastrophic event that is caused by either human error in controlling technology or a malfunction of a technology system. Technology disasters include structural collapses, such as bridges, mines and buildings, but also industrial accidents, such as chemical or nuclear explosions.

Before we go through crisis management stages we need to understand the terminologies: disaster, crisis, emergency and risk management:

        • We define a disaster in terms of the outcome or consequences for a society: a disaster is a “crisis with a bad ending.” When a crisis is perceived to have really bad consequences, we speak of a catastrophe. The difference between a crisis, disaster and a catastrophe is, of course, a matter of perception.
        • An emergency is a situation that requires immediate attention, but is usually small in scale.
        • Risk management is concerned with identifying, assessing and mitigating any activity or event that could cause harm to the business.

Stages of crisis management

A.     Pre – crisis:

Prevention is better than the cure 

Before a crisis strikes, business owners must think about how a disaster would impact organization, shareholders, reputation and their company value. A crisis can strike any company anytime, anywhere. Predictive planning is the key to survival Here are critical steps to crisis management that every company should have in place regardless of its size:

          • Crisis management Plan (CMP):

Crisis management plan isn’t a blueprint it just a reference tool to reminders of what typically should be done in a crisis .during the crisis you need every second by pre-assigning some tasks, pre-collecting some information, and serving as a reference source.  Pre-assigning tasks presumes there is a designated crisis team.  The team members should know what tasks and responsibilities they have during a crisis.

          • Crisis management team:

Every crisis has a unique fingerprint however you can form your team based on the natural of crisis .members could be as executive manager for  a human resources, Marketing, Sales, legal, public relation, finance, information technology….etc

All members must be trained to take decision under stress, everyone should know how communication (internal & external) will work, everyone must have an ability to adapt and learn.  as a consequence for those changes learning agility concept began to emerge to cope with those changes. In most businesses, this skill is considered one of the most important factors in great leadership. To be effective, leaders must demonstrate the flexibility and agility to adapt their behaviors as situations change.   

          • Crisis Spokesperson:

A key component of crisis team training is spokesperson training.  Organizational members must be prepared to talk to mass media and digital media during a crisis.


All organization must conduct exercise at least annually to test the crisis management plan and team also test Pre-draft messages that will be used during a crisis for every stakeholder also test your communication channels.


B.     During crisis:

          • Identify and Know Your Stakeholders:

Who are the internal and external stakeholders that matter to your organization? I consider employees to be your most important audience, because every employee is a PR representative and crisis manager for your organization whether you want them to be or not! But, ultimately, all stakeholders will be talking about you to others not on your contact list, so it’s up to you to ensure that they receive the messages you would like them to repeat elsewhere.

          • Establish notification and monitoring systems:

Knowing what’s being said about you in mass and social media, by your employees, customers, and other stakeholders often allows you to catch a negative “trend” that, if unchecked, could turn into a crisis. Likewise, monitoring feedback from stakeholders during a crisis situation allows you to accurately adapt your strategy and tactics. Furthermore, your organization should have the means to reach the internal and external stakeholders as soon as possible.

          • Communicate, communicate and always develop your statement:

The first rule of crisis management is to communicate. Early hours are critical and they set the tone for the duration of the crisis. Especially when deal with social media it is one of the most important channels of communications. A crisis that is not managed well can wipe out decades of hard work and company value in a matter of hours. Tell what you know and when you became aware of it; explain who is involved and what is being done to fix the situation. Be sure to correct misinformation promptly when it emerges.


C.     Post – crisis analysis:

After a crisis, formal analysis of what was done well, what could be done better next time and how to improve various elements of your crisis response plan. This is another must-do activity for any crisis communications team. As the crisis comes under control, a company should examine how effective their plan was during the crisis and the impact the incident has had on its employees, brand(s) and reputation. If any of those three have taken a hit, a company may need take steps to address them.

Again then Again then Again always remember


Islam Helmy

Hr training and development manager, Business development manager, Digital marketing trainer assistant, Co-founder of Training Bakers

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