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Crisis? What crisis?

3 February 2021 at 7:00 am
Peter Rutter
Peter Rutter from Beyond Bank shares the five tips organisations need to know to get through a crisis unscathed.

Peter Rutter | 3 February 2021 at 7:00 am


Crisis? What crisis?
3 February 2021 at 7:00 am

Peter Rutter from Beyond Bank shares the five tips organisations need to know to get through a crisis unscathed.

All of us know a fair bit about crises. We are living through one right now. They’re decidedly unpleasant, usually highly stressful and are often handled very badly. 

They also have a nasty habit of appearing when we least expect them. 

Life is going well, work is good, we are feeling happy and productive and then suddenly, we are blindsided by a crisis that was impossible to see coming. 

Almost immediately, you find yourself, your organisation and often your reputation in a high-risk situation that will require some extremely careful mitigation.

That’s your typical garden-variety crisis. There’s also a second type that is just as traumatic and often even more dangerous.

These are the crises that lurk in the shadows, the slow burn crises that you know about. The problem that you have been secretly hoping might just go away. 

Things like a staff bullying incident, a company theft, a disgruntled former employee. The list is long and nothing on it is remotely appealing.

But before you run to bed and pull the duvet over your head, there’s some good news. 

Following the five tips below will help you manage any type of crisis, provide some clarity around your thinking and bring you some very important peace of mind.

1. Don’t wait for a crisis, get ready now

Failing to prepare for the worst is by far and away, the biggest and most common problem for any business, big or small. Yet, in good times, that’s exactly what we should be doing so that when bad times come (and they will), we are ready.

Set aside a day in your calendar to identify areas of risk for your business. This could be as simple as getting everyone together in front of a whiteboard and writing down where you may be exposed. 

From there, think about your key stakeholders (they tend to be staff first, your customers/clients and the media) and what you need to tell them. 

2. Don’t panic

Let’s be honest. Never in the history of the world, has someone actually calmed down when they’ve been told to calm down. It just doesn’t happen.

So how do we stay calm? If we have followed tip one, we have a plan and that’s already a giant advantage because it will lay out exactly what to do and who will do it. 

Note, there is no such thing as a Plan B. 

Plan B is simply Plan A with an element of further panic attached.

3. Appoint your war cabinet

The less people in charge of managing the crisis, the better. 

It eliminates confusion, brings together the people required and ensures clear and consistent direction.

In a crisis, whispers are highly damaging so nominate your key internal stakeholders and get them together as quickly as possible.

4. Get your message right

This is the main job of the war cabinet. 

They need to drill down on the two to three key things you need to say to your staff, your community and yes, potentially the media too.

Don’t overthink it but use clear and plain English that is straight to the point. 

Don’t overdeliver either. Keep it short and simple. 

5. Keep your cool

Even if you don’t feel cool, you must present yourself as being under control.

Your body language and demeanour is all-important here. Instead of appearing stressed, short-tempered or rude, you must be polite and calm, a steady presence that will engender trust and faith in those around you that you know what you’re doing.

In summary, crises will come and they will pass too. How you choose to handle them is entirely up to you.


About Beyond Bank Australia

Beyond Bank has over 245,000 customers, $6 billion in assets under management and more than 40 branches in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, ACT and Victoria (through its merger with Nexus Mutual).

As one of Australia’s largest customer-owned banks, Beyond Bank partners with more than 4,000 community organisations around the nation and was the first bank in Australia to achieve B Corp certification, a global movement of companies and organisations that use business as a force for good.  

For more information please visit

Peter Rutter  |  @ProBonoNews

Peter Rutter is the general manager of strategy and community development at Beyond Bank.

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