The key principles to help you to prevent or survive a communications crisis:
1. Don't make things worse!
2. Get the story over and done with, and
3. Remember there’s always next week and next year.
In the case of Cricket Australia, they broke all three of these rules. And now they are paying for it.
Let’s have a quick look at the issue.
1. What makes this worse
The constant speculation around what happened in South Africa in the third test, how it happened and who was responsible, was very unhelpful. Pretending the planning for this ball tampering incident involved the bowlers only made the matter worse; and then believing once the three players were sacked, everything would be okay, only caused the issue to escalate to a crisis.
I would argue that CA made the issue worse.
2. Getting the story over with
This means quick disclosure of the facts. Gather ALL the information and get it out quickly – don’t suspend players before you articulate the facts. If there are delays, announce the delays and the reasons for the delays. There is an old saying: “if you manage an issue properly you will prevent a crisis”. This issue was not properly managed and it escalated into a crisis.
3. Remember there’s next week and next year
You must conduct yourself in self-respecting ways. You will be dealing with many of the same media and journalists again. The perception of you by the media in the future will depend on how you handle this matter. The aftermath of this crisis could last as long as your career if you really screw things up.
This crisis is going to come back to haunt CA for a long time.