The three elements of effective crisis management are:
1. Own up to the problem.
2. Make things right.
3. Let everyone move on.
At Friday’s Apple iPhone 4 press conference, Steve Jobs failed two of the three elements of crisis management, and in spectacular fashion at that. Oddly, had he cut out most of the presentation – the defiant and defensive stuff – shown even a little humility, and left everything else the same, he would have passed with flying colors.
It’s surprising, really, although it does demonstrate how a CEO’s pride and hubris can negatively affect his otherwise sound judgement. Here’s an explanation of the three elements and how Jobs managed to get an F grade in crisis management handling the iPhone 4 reception issue:
1. Own Up to the Problem
That means be honest about the problem, which, and this may come as a surprise to some people, does mean admitting that there is a problem. Also, if you didn’t respond quickly enough, tried to cover things up, or did anything to make things worse, you need to own up to that too. Trying to make your customers feel like dopes by saying, “Just avoid holding it in that way,” as Jobs did, definitely falls into that category.