Making an Ongoing Drama out of Crisis

Even the non-egg chasers among you are probably aware of the current controversy rocking my favourite sport of Rugby. For those of you that aren’t the overview is simple. In the Harlequin v Leinster quarter-final of the 2009 Heineken Cup, Rugby’s top flight European competition, a Harlequin’ wing faked a blood injury which enabled a player who had already been tactically substituted to return to the field. The hope was that the returning first choice kicker, Nick Evans, could change the out come of the match, which stood in the balance at 5- 6 with only five minutes remaining. Fortunately Evans missed his attempted drop goal, Quins were knocked out and Leinster went on to win the final.

imageSitting at home, mainly watching through my fingers, I, like many, thought that  the wink the injured player gave the bench as he came off, looked a bit weird but not quite as weird as the colour and quantity of blood pouring from his mouth. I’d like to think I thought that there would be something made of it but it’s quite possible that it’s wishful hindsight. Initially it seemed that nothing was going to happen, then there was a report that the ERC was investigating, that there would be a hearing and since then the media storm has just got bigger and bigger. I doubt Rugby has had quite so many column inches devoted to it between world cups and definitely not in the off-season.

As with many crisis, the initial incident has now been overshadowed by the way that the club responded to it, and it this which is at the centre of the contuinuing media maelstrom. The club initially tried to bluff it out, denying anything untoward happened. Amazingly this didn’t work, and as the story is pulled apart piece by piece, new revelations continue to appear and the calls for even greater sanctions to be imposed are getting louder.

That how you handle a crisis is of more importance than the actual reason for the crisis is something  we’ve seen repeatedly and seems to be of more importance now that any action or inaction can be scrutinised. Think of recent, and not so recent, cases, Motrin Moms, Spinvox and Kryptonite, it was the lack of response that really irked people. Compare these to Jet Blue and Dominos’ booger both companies came out of their crisis fairly unscathed as not only did they take immediate action, they made it very visible what action they were taking

In times of crisis, do something and be seen to be doing it.

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