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NATs Outage: Navigating Company-Wide Crises

Around a quarter of a million passengers were affected by a technical problem at NATS, the UK’s leading air traffic control services provider, this week. Travellers were left unable to return home for several days, leaving them to seek alternative accommodation and flights - all of which airlines will be expected to reimburse in the coming weeks. Industry body Iata projected a £100m loss in revenue for airlines – not to mention the devastating impact on reputation.

In the dynamic landscape of modern business, facing company-wide crises that threaten brand reputation and profit margins like these is not a matter of if, but when. Here are three essential pieces of advice for business leaders on effectively managing and mitigating the impact of crises:

1. Transparent Communication is Key

When a crisis strikes, the instinct might be to go into damage control mode and limit information flow. However, the opposite approach often yields better results. Transparent and honest communication should be at the forefront of your strategy. Address the situation head-on with your employees, customers, partners, and key stakeholders. Provide accurate information about the crisis, its causes, and your plan of action. Sharing the steps you're taking to rectify the situation and prevent future occurrences fosters trust and showcases your commitment to resolving the issue.

2. Swift and Decisive Action

In the face of crisis, decisive action is paramount. Hesitation or delay can exacerbate the situation and diminish confidence in leadership. Assemble a crisis management team comprising individuals from diverse departments who can provide insights and expertise. This team should work together to assess the extent of the crisis, identify immediate steps to minimise damage and create a comprehensive action plan. Address the root cause of the crisis, not just its symptoms. Demonstrate your ability to learn from adversity by implementing changes that prevent similar crises in the future.

3. Protecting Brand Reputation

A company's brand reputation is an asset that can take years to build and just moments to tarnish. Protecting it during a crisis requires a well-thought-out, strategic approach. Actively engage in reputation management by monitoring online conversations and addressing concerns promptly. Leverage social media and other communication channels to share updates on your progress. Consider involving key stakeholders in your recovery efforts, turning them into active advocates who vouch for your commitment to resolving the crisis. When handled well, a crisis can enhance your brand's reputation, demonstrating resilience and a customer-centric approach.

"When handled well, a crisis can enhance your brand's reputation"

A company-wide crisis is a test of leadership that requires transparency, swift action, and a focus on protecting your brand's reputation. Remember, every crisis presents an opportunity for growth and improvement. By effectively managing crises, you not only safeguard your organisation's immediate well-being but also position it for long-term success in an ever-evolving business landscape.


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