When tragedy strikes our communities, we look to expert first responders to rush to our aid: without well-equipped and trained police, firefighters and EMTs, we’d be in harm’s way when we need support at our side.
Unfortunately, most senior planners don’t think about the need for crisis planning within their agency, but the compelling issues involving seniors — and the potential that a nasty headline or two could destroy your reputation — speaks volumes to this analogy. Thinking about a crisis before one strikes your practice is smart practice management.
If you believe crises only happen to others, wake up. The best crisis is one prevented. How would you (and the companies that trust you to sell and distribute their products) respond if one of your advisors was charged by the Attorney General for complicity in an investment scheme? How might you respond if the local chapter of the AARP listed your agency as one of several that is selling inappropriate variable annuities with weak disclaimers?
Every practice — and that means yours — should make an effort to develop a crisis management plan before a crisis occurs. This includes the creation of critical “to do” lists and making sure your employees understand the nuances of the plan.
A crisis leader must follow a comprehensive protocol that includes the mobilization of teams, systems, and tools in order to successfully respond to a crisis and recover from its impact. How you communicate with victims, employees, and other stakeholders during those precious first hours after an incident could deeply affect the reputation of your organization and your customer relationships for years to come.