A book by Nicholas Sparks
The author, who served on the Three Mile Island crisis management team, has done an extensive study of crises in business. In this book he describes and analyzes several recent crises including TMI, Ohio S & L, Union Carbide, and Rely Tampons. He advises … see full wiki
Fink organizes his excellent material within 18 chapters which are arranged in a sequence appropriate to the aforementioned components. With meticulous care, he defines various terms (thus providing a nomenclature for crisis management which most readers probably did not have before) while establishing a context within which to illustrate and apply those terms. Of greater value, I think, is the matrix of different perspectives which Fink provides. This strategy reminds me of the way Henry James develops his major characters in various novels. That is, look at a given situation from every possible angle. This Fink does brilliantly as he explains how to measure the nature and extent of a given crisis, decide who must do what immediately, how to manage information (he devotes Chapters 13 and 14 to crisis communications), and how to make the most effective decisions under what are inevitably severe pressures ranging from shock and fear to grief and anger within compressed timeframes. He also includes what he calls "A Catastrophic Quartet" in Chapter 17: case studies of crises involving Ohio Savings and Loan, Union Carbide, Procter & Gamble (Rely Tampon), and Johnson & Johnson (Tylenol). Having reached this point in the book, Fink's reader is already well-prepared to recognize various dos and don'ts within the four case studies.
Who will derive the greatest value from this book? My response is decision-makers in organizations (regardless of size or nature) who realize or at least suspect the importance of having a crisis management program already in place, especially now. Noteworthy is the fact that the same observations, insights, and recommendations which Fink shares in this book are as relevant to "catastrophes" involving loss of intellectual property as they are to situations in which there is loss of human life and/or destruction of physical property. Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out Ian Mitroff's Managing Crises Before They Occur and The Essential Guide to Managing Corporate Crises (in that order) as well as Peter Schwartz's The Art of the Long View. The subtitle of this book stresses the importance of "planning for the inevitable." I could not agree more.
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