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At the start of any discussion about crisis management, it is important to first define what crisis means. Crisis events are generally understood to have long-term potential to change the way an organization operates, sometimes threatening its survival, or fundamentally changing its internal or external stakeholder relationships. To best prepare for eventualities such as these, companies must have a crisis management plan that brings together many different competencies: communications, legal, security, forensic, and often political among others. Most companies appropriately recognize the importance of devoting resources to compliance, preventing compliance misses from happening in the first place. But the reality, even for companies with the best compliance programs, is that certain events are unforeseeable (e.g., “black swans”), or unstoppable (“gray rhinos”). The answer is not simply to reactively deal with these events when they come, but instead to implement a plan that can save important time and provide a semblance of order when the next crisis happens.

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