Developing Issues Management systems and skills
Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.
Issues and crises can crop up unexpectedly and set your project back if you are not prepared for them.
You may need to respond to hostile media enquiries about adverse events related to your new vaccine or your ongoing project may have suffered a crisis of confidence amongst important stakeholders.
If you are not adequately prepared with an issues management plan, you can be caught unawares and your project can grind to a halt.
Baird’s CMC is a global consulting team of senior management, communication, policy and research professionals with vast experience of helping clients develop their own set of issues management systems and skill sets.
Baird’s CMC has 37 co-owners across Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe and implementation partners in 53 further countries. We have handled issues management and crisis management projects all over the world using our network and can help you develop in-house expertise in issues management skills. We can conduct training programmes and help you set systems in place that will help your employees develop in-house skills and tools to be able to best respond to issues and crises that come up.
While Baird’s CMC and our associates will still only be a phone call or an email away, our training programmes will make sure that you are better prepared in the first few hours after an issue breaks, which is the most crucial time frame for its resolution.
- A major producer was not able to supply all of the medical products that it was contracted to supply to some clients. This had the potential to negatively affect the client’s brand and reputation and give the opportunity to clients and anti-industry activists to criticise the company and gather negative media attention. Baird’s CMC assisted the healthcare company in formulating a crisis communications plan to deal with possible negative media attention including comprehensive media training for spokespeople and establishing a fast-response crisis group which included outside experts.
- South Africa was one of two finalist countries bidding to become home to the Square Kilometre Array, a €2.6 billion project to build the world’s largest radio telescope (that will, in fact, span 11 African countries). South Africa was seen as an outsider since Australia, the other finalist, had a long history of such projects. Baird’s CMC was retained by the Government of South Africa to help build understanding of the unique strengths of the country’s proposal amongst officials, ministers, legislators, scientific opinion leaders and journalists in the countries which would decide on the future of the project (these included Canada, China, France, India, Italy and the UK). The first step was to understand which stakeholders influenced which decisions and which thought what. We worked closely with South African diplomatic missions and specialised SA teams in Brussels and Washington to host events in cities including London, Paris, Shanghai and Washington DC. We also managed familiarisation projects and helped journalists in writing accurate, authoritative stories.
- PATH was the lead partner in providing technical support to the Government of India (GoI) and 15 states for the planning and implementation of the Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccination program. Between 2006 – 2009 almost 60 million children were immunised with the JE vaccine, manufactured in Chengdu Institute of Biological Products, China. Media reporting of JE had often highlighted the real risks but had sometimes also created unnecessary public anxiety. Added to this, most media reporting of the imported Chinese vaccine had been unhelpful; much of it was inaccurate; some was probably tainted by domestic commercial interests.
The JE vaccination programme was to be extended for a further two years. Baird’s CMC helped the Government of India and the WHO draft a detailed crisis communications plan supporting the JE programme. The plan was to be supported by a training programme for the health care professional responsible for managing immunisation.
The focus of the plan was on managing communications with the media and with all relevant target groups. Baird’s CMC delivered crisis communications support to the vaccination program through a wide range of activities including
- devising communications crisis media training programme to support the crisis communications plan
- developing a suite of communications tools to support managers and other health care workers in the management of a crisis situation should it arise including : web site; Q&A documents; backgrounders for media; key contact lists and other resources