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How to Set Goals in a Crisis Communications Plan

Without clear goals, crisis communications plans can be ineffective and disorganized. Teams often lurch from problem to problem when a crisis strikes without defining and measuring progress. This can lead to frustration, anger, and distrust. To ensure that your communications plan is effective, it's essential to define and track progress. Goals in a crisis communications plan need to be specific, measurable, actionable and time-limited.

Defining goals will help leaders prioritize and make better decisions. Getting caught up in the moment and focusing on immediate tasks in a crisis is easy. To avoid this, you need a plan with clear goals. Without defined goals during a crisis, you will have trouble deciding when and how to return to normal business operations.

We work with organizations in Pennsylvania - from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, and throughout the country on their crisis communications needs. Here is the approach to goal-setting we take when helping organizations develop crisis communications plans.


Organizations need to stay away from broad or vague goals. It's not enough to say that you want a crisis to end or customers to be satisfied. You need to make the goal narrow. Crisis communications plans often have multiple goals, allowing the teams to narrow and track progress on each.


Most organizations are swimming in data. When you're in a crisis, you need to decide how you will tie as much hard, quantifiable data to your goals as possible. Select specific Key Performace Indicators along with targets to make your goal measurable. For example, suppose a crisis has disrupted your supply chain. In that case, you might want to measure Customer Order Cycle Time to determine your team's success in resolving the crisis.


Work that you and your team can do needs to drive the goal. You must ensure your goal is directly influenced by the organization's actions. It's not enough to choose a passive activity that is disconnected from your team's work, or that may happen with or without actions by the organization.


In a crisis, making sure your goals are time-limited is especially important. You need to set goals to help you get out of a crisis and back to normal operations as quickly as possible. Without making your goal time-limited, it can be easy to float without resolving the crisis.

When defining goals in a crisis communications plan is to be specific, measurable, actionable, and time-limited. As your work to resolve the crisis progresses, you need to track progress against your goals and make adjustments as needed. Without proper goal-setting, your organization will struggle to respond to and end a crisis. You could even compound your problems. We've developed crisis communications plans and worked with organizations of all sizes to develop goals. We're happy to help you and your organization plan ahead or resolve a crisis as it is underway.


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