10 surefire ways to ensure your next crisis spirals out of control

You want that kerfuffle to erupt into a disaster? Check out these dopey tactics; feel free to mix and match. Then sit back and watch your reputation turn to shambles.

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All organizations are vulnerable to crises.

Disasters, lawsuits, accusations of impropriety, sudden changes in ownership or management, and other volatile situations can and often do happen. The threat of serious damage to people, property and/or reputation is real for any organization, and for many individuals as well.

The cheapest way to turn experience into future success is to learn from others’ mistakes.

The following examples of inappropriate crisis communications policies, culled from real-life situations, should provide a tongue-in-cheek guide to the mistakes you must avoid. If you want your crisis to spiral out of control, employ any combination of these wrong-way tactics:

1. Play ostrich. Do what Lance Armstrong did for years: Hope that no one learns about it. Follow the advice to say nothing and do nothing. Assume you’ll have time to react when and if necessary, with little or no preparation time. While you’re playing ostrich, with your head buried firmly in the sand, don’t think about the part that’s still hanging out.

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