Good Example of a Best Practice in Crisis Communications for a Tragic Incident

You just never know when a crisis is going to happen.   Your organization can be enjoying its good operations for its business and activities and suddenly, what starts out good can have a sad turn.   Such was the case for the Texas Rangers on July 7, 2011 at a home game lightly attended by fans in the afternoon, many of them Dads and kids.

A fan fell over the railing.   He sadly suffered fatal injuries.   His name was Shannon Stone and his fall was in the act of trying to catch a baseball that had been thrown up into the stands in a friendly gesture.

The Rangers organization had to activate their crisis management plan, even while continuing the game and all in full view of the local, state and national media.

While the incident was a complete surprise, the Texas Rangers Executive Management had their plan.   I found it especially impressive that they mustered their executive team together to strategize their immediate public communication and identified right away who would be the spokesperson.   The Rangers Story was presented earlier this year by Rob Matwick, Executive VP of the Rangers Ballpark.   His presentation is available at: https://www.ncs4.com/files/conference/2012/resources/matwick_conference2012.pdf

This is EXACTLY what you need to have AT YOUR FINGERTIPS when you have a sudden crisis situation and will need to make a public statement.   For those of you who have worked with me on your crisis communication plans, you know that we prepare the bullet items, JUST LIKE YOU SEE IN MR. MATWICK's PRESENTATION.   We call these the CORE MESSAGE and we prepare them to be presented to the TARGET AUDIENCES.   For every identified potential situation, we have these bullet items pre-identified with the format and basic structure of the CORE MESSAGE as a guide.   The CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS PLAN contains the protocols for all target audiences, the identified communicators, the systems and process used, and training and guidance for media and public releases and presentations.

I remember the day last year when I watched the news story of this incident.   I remember the spokesperson and the words he said to the media.   I remember thinking about this and how the organization would have had to run two operations concurrently: (1) The actual game which continued – (2) The Crisis Management Plan.    If you have a moment, take it to consider all the target audiences for this incident.   What would you have prepared for the Core Message?   What would you have to do as the Crisis Manager?   Who would be involved in this situation?

Our prayers are still with the Shannon Stone family.   And our support to the Texas Rangers.   Thank you, Mr. Matwick, for sharing this insider view of this incident.   We appreciate the value you have shared with us out in the country.

Now think about your organization – do you have a prepared guide for this kind of situation?   Crisis Management Consulting can help you get prepared.   Give me a call today.   Jan Decker 253 261 2704

Copyright 2012 Jan Decker

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