Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Bizarre Crisis

At the Institute for Crisis Management we maintain there are four types of crises you will experience at some time in your career.

1. Sudden Crises -- fires, explosions, natural disasters and workplace violence

2. Smoldering Crises -- two thirds of all crises are the smoldering type -- they start out small, usually internal, but not always, and they are the kind of things someone should recognize as a potential problem and either fix them or report it to someone who can.  You can plan for both of these types and even if you can't prevent them, you can be prepared to minimize the damage of each type.

3.  Perceptual Crises -- the classic example is the old Proctor & Gamble corporate logo that included a half-moon and some stars.  Every few years someone would look at that logo and declare it was a symbol of devil worship and try to organize a boycott of P & G products. 

4.  The fourth crisis type we call the Bizarre Crisis.  You cannot plan for nor anticipate a perceptual or bizarre crisis but you still have to manage them when they rear their ugly heads.

Today, there is a report from New York City about a bizarre crisis.

An 88-year-old woman was on her way to visit her daughter in another part of the city, and was on the escalator at the Long Island Railroad Lindenhurst Station when she fell and her clothes became entangled in the escalator mechanism and asphyxiated her.

You might argue that the Railroad should have anticipated such an accident, but it is still an unusual disruption and has already triggered negative national media attention and most certainly will result in a lawsuit.

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