The crisis communication by the government and different officials is under constant scrutiny during the Covid crisis. And for a good reason. But sometimes the loudest critics should understand the difficult circumstances under which the they are operating.
By difficult I mean the shortcomings in the structures of the crisis management and communication in the official Finland. Crisis actions, management and communications are executed by multiple ministries and many other authorities and offices. All the citizens, companies, public and private entities are affected by the crisis.
Ministries and different government branches are trying their best to manage their own crisis efforts and communicate with their stakeholders. Coordination has been improved but crisis efforts are still not being managed in any centralized fashion. This causes problems with the unity of decision making and communication. It also makes it difficult to see the overall situational picture, especially the communication side of it.
Also things don’t get easier by the fact that there are not enough civil servants formulating all the needed decisions. After all, every guideline, regulation and press release has to be prepared, approved, communicated and commented by someone.
What if a private company would handle a crisis like the government is doing now with the Covid crisis? Every branch of the company would decide how it would handle its own area of responsibility and how it will communicate the decisions made. As many people would comment on those decisions as there are branches. The unity of the management and communication would depend only on cooperation of the managers of different branches. The board would just sit by and watch all the crisis efforts unfold.
Everyone sees that this isn’t possible for companies. But this is exactly how the government is handling the crisis now. One must wonder that the crisis efforts have been as good they have although the premise has been so difficult.
Crises are crises, doesn’t matter how big or small. Same principles apply and dictate the success or the failure of the crisis efforts. In the near future the crisis management model has to support centralized crisis management and communication. There is no way around that.
All kinds of crises are heading towards the Finnish society and companies. They can only be dealt with, if everyone is prepared to do their own share.
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