Communicating well in a crisis is critical to maintaining good relationships with stakeholders, but what happens when the crisis is born out of diversity, equity and inclusion issues? Our most recent Shoff Chat guests shared their experience counseling clients who had to rebuild trust after a DEI crisis.
Jennifer Dzwonar, partner at Borshoff, and Denise Herd, president of Herd Strategies, have partnered in recent years to counsel a number of clients who faced reputation challenges caused by DEI missteps. Some of their key learnings included:
- DEI crises are often not isolated issues – there are underlying issues that have flown under the radar for years but are linked to more current events, and we work with clients to uncover those so we can help truly improve communications.
- Having access to and alignment with leadership is critical to successfully navigating a crisis.
- Going through our own crises as business owners helped us have more empathy for our clients in crisis, and an important lesson is to own the mistake(s) early.
- Helping organizations shift their focus from themselves to the people in the community who were impacted is critical to getting beyond the crisis. We see this as one of our most important goals.
- DEI issues are often very internal and painful, so it’s critical to focus on communication with internal audiences as much, if not more, than external audiences.
- Clients in crisis must be willing to trust us and share their full story with us if we’re going to be able to truly help them. We do a lot of listening and not judging, otherwise we won’t be able to truly understand how the situation happened and how to go forward.
Looking for a proven partner to help you successfully plan for or navigate a crisis? Let’s connect.
Listen to this episode or past Shoff Chats episodes here.