Lessons learned: McC Inc. Today
While each member of the management group was affected by the tragedy in a profound way, they also each have unique perspectives of important takeaways from their collective experience of the past 10-plus months.
"From my perspective it became clear how important it is to keep adequate life insurance to protect shareholders and the company, in addition to having a healthy working capital position during a crisis situation," says Schmid.
For Dan Shefland the lesson is more personal but holds significant value for business operators: "Don't take anything for granted; whether it's your company, your personal life or projects at work, you need to plan ahead in case something goes wrong, because as great as things can be one day, it can all go terribly wrong the next."
After pondering the question for a long time, Walters' takeaway centers around the human element of a business: "The best thing that came out of all this was the realization that our people were prepared to step up and lead in some way. Had we not sought out highly motivated people who were driven to succeed at their job, regardless of what that job was, we probably wouldn't have come through this."
Cortney McCormick probably sums it up best, however, when he looks at the spirit of McC Inc.: "Through it all you have to stay true to your vision. David's vision remains our vision. That success is a function of design, not chance. And we owe it to the memories of those men and the current and future members of the McC Inc. family to provide the tools needed to increase our breadth of knowledge and experience."
Based on what's been accomplished so far, David McCormick and Dave Kammerer would be very pleased at the progress that's been made, and extremely proud of how McC Inc. is prepared for the future.
Balancing Your Message with 'The Need to Know'
Our industry is one of high reward and sometimes, high risk. An engulfment, fire or natural disaster, explosion or derailment are all too-common occurrences and create incredible stories and footage for media.
FEED & GRAIN visited with Tim Oliver, president of MorganMyers, a Waukesha, WI-based marketing communications agency, who has counseled clients on crisis communications strategies.
In the unlikely event your business has a crisis communication situation, Oliver recommends that time spent upfront on a plan, setting communications priorities and understanding what your media response should be.
Plan. For most businesses it shouldn't be a large formal document, but you should talk through and create an outline of who leads and your contacts during an incident. Make sure:
- several people involved in managing the organization have a copy of the outline;
- there's a 2nd and 3rd person designated in case the primary spokesperson isn't available; and,
- all copies of the plan aren't in the same location.
Events in a crisis move rapidly and you won't have time to choose who's doing the talking or looking for names and phone numbers in the aftermath, so plan ahead.
Priorities. Oliver stresses your first priority is those most directly impacted. That means the order is family and employees— if there is an injury or death — then community. If there's still a threat to public health, you now work with emergency services and media to get the word out.
Media response. Media in a crisis situation work to get accurate news out fast, often as a matter of public safety, and provide an emotional context for the facts of a story.
If reporters arrive on site, pick a spot and time to talk with them so they won't hamper recovery efforts. If possible, pick a location that can accomodate cameras but be mindful of any potentially negative background imagery. Allow law enforcement to establish a safe barrier for photographers away from the incident, especially if an cause investigation is ongoing.
Media will ask direct, insistent questions about injuries, and the facts and cause of an incident before the answers are known. In most cases the best approach for all involved is: