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No plan, no problem?

Claudia Bracher Wolfensberger, Partner

Why good issues management not only prevents crises, but also reveals opportunities.

Dangers and risks have many faces. Do you prefer the motto "eyes closed and through"? Then good luck, this text is not for you. Because the following is about things like "danger recognized, danger averted" or "preparation is half the battle".

The market environment of companies is becoming increasingly complex and thus more difficult to calculate. The public's interest in economic events is growing, with sometimes serious consequences. Global economic and information markets, the change in values or the increasing environmental awareness create a strongly growing pressure for legitimacy. The social environment is increasingly exerting an active influence on the success of a company.

For those responsible for management and communications, it is a matter of identifying topics - or issues - that are important for a company, its products or projects as early as possible.

The earlier the potential opportunities and risks of controversial public issues for a company's reputation are recognized, the greater the scope for action is to be able to intervene in a controlling or corrective manner with suitable measures to protect or improve the image.

Issues management comprises observation and procedural techniques for managing uncertainty and risk. The aim is to avoid unpleasant surprises or conflicts as far as possible and to exploit any opportunities that these issues may bring.

During this process, suitable strategies for action are developed, positions are worked out and justified, and internal and external communication is planned.

Acting instead of reacting - that is the motto. Professional issues management thus provides an early warning and reaction system that recognizes critical moods in good time and is able to control them proactively.

It also defines which topics, views, values and problem solutions are particularly relevant for a company or may even suddenly become acute.

Issues are not crises. However, issues can quickly escalate into crises, especially if the wrong reactions are made. Be prepared: Identify potential issues for your company and prioritize them. Analyze risks and opportunities on an ongoing basis and have a strategy and action plan ready.

Good preparation makes it much easier to communicate your position to the public quickly and credibly. Manage issues actively. Otherwise, you risk being managed by your issues. If you approach problems with the motto "close your eyes and get through it", you have no idea whether, where and how you will get out of a crisis again. Not having a plan is thus guaranteed to become a problem.


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