This post is from The Business Ethics Exchange, the newsletter of the Center for Ethical Business Cultures

Kathy Tunheim
Jim Lukaszewski

It isn’t whether, but when, an organization will experience a crisis. Anticipate and prepare in advance, advised veteran PR and crisis management experts Kathy Tunheim, president and CEO of Tunheim Partners, and Jim Lukaszewski of the Lukaszewski Group, meeting with CEBC members at the center’s fall roundtable.

What constitutes a crisis? Lukaszweski argued that a crisis calls into question the very trustworthiness of the organization and its leadership – nearly always triggering highly emotional responses. Tunheim described the moment when leaders suddenly realize this situation is radically different from ordinary bad days at the office and make a conscious decision to go into crisis mode. Both agreed that an effective response hinges on leaders who set the moral tone for the response.