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Richard Branson: How to face disaster

Ever stopped to think about how you’d react if things went wrong?

If yes, well done, you’re on the ball.

If no, you really should – things always go wrong, and you should be prepared for when disaster strikes.

Virgin founder Richard Branson wrote a great piece recently on this very subject – emergency planning – which is worth a read (read it in its entirety on page two).

If you’re short for time, Richard Branson offers these four takeaway lessons:

1. Get to the scene fast: “In disasters, we’re often appalled by the length of time that usually passes before anyone speaks to the press. Confusion and then blame sets in quickly as anxious people wait to find out what is happening and why.”

2. Be efficient in dealing with your customers, staff and the media: “Protect your reputation, yet don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Communicate openly and keep the press up to date”.

3. Investigate the matter thoroughly: “If you can, try to pinpoint where your internal processes failed.”

4. Apologise: “Explain what happened, express your regret, and describe what steps you’ve taken to correct the situation. While some may suggest that you resign, I don’t think a CEO is always obliged to fall on his sword. Most times, managers should stay and sort the mess out.”

Read Richard Branson’s entire piece on page two.


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