• crisis communication

The Essential Role of a War Room in a Crisis

Setting up a war room can be the key to a coordinated and successful response strategy during a crisis.

When a corporate crisis happens, team members rush to their desks knowing it’s an “all hands on deck” situation. But too often, the reality is that it’s “all hands on lots of different decks” and on each deck, departmental response actions are siloed.

While a few key leaders huddle together, other essential departments may find themselves outside the decision-making circle. Because time pressure is so extreme in a crisis, the decisions are often made only by those who are already in proximity to the CEO.

Setting up a “war room,” “crisis hub,” or “command center” can be critical to the success of a crisis response for three key reasons:

  1. The act of setting up the room requires a leadership team to take the time to think through all key functions and ensure they are represented in the decision-making process.
  2. Once you’re sure you have the right functions at the table, each leader can participate in the discussion, ask relevant questions, and more clearly communicate execution details to his or her respective teams. 
  3. When all key functions work together, the team can better receive and evaluate incoming information and respond effectively. A war room enables nimble and rapid response.

There are two parts to any crisis: the triggering event and the ongoing response. If an organization isn’t prepared, the response can make things worse. Leadership teams have very short windows to make the right decisions, and a coordinated response can be the difference between an effective response and a deepening crisis.
For more information on crisis communications strategies, please contact The Jeff Eller Group.