Jerome Bloch (360Crossmedia): crisis management, instruction manual
According to Jerome Bloch, whose firm went through the crises of 2001, 2008 and 2020, "All crises generate many opportunities”. Interview.
How to take advantage of a crisis?
The short answer is anticipation. The level of stress in times of crisis is such that it is difficult to find an optimal reaction on the spot. I often use the image of the Airbus A320 pilot whose right engine is on fire: he calmly opens his manual and applies, line by line, the procedure that has been written for ages. Most companies do not take the time to write such a manual. During seminars, I often talk about the "paradox of crises": they sometimes generate exhilarating adrenaline rushes, which can givethe impression to CEOs who improvise a lot that they have been heroic. In reality, the real heroes are the CEOs who prepare their companies for a crisis long before it happens! They significantly reduce the level of risk and stress to which the company and its employees are exposed. In other words, crisis management is closely related to the level of leadership of company managers.
«The realheroes are the CEOs who prepare their companies for a crisis long before it happens!»
What kind of leadership are you talking about?
In my opinion, a leader is above all a visionary: he or she anticipates the potential of an employee when hiring him or her and maps out the ideal path that the company should follow in the medium and long term. This leadership can concretely be applied to 3 specific points: firstly, the company's culture. The Covid crisis clearly showed that employees of firms with a strong culture outperformed in teleworking, while others were often hard to reach. But in most companies, culture is like the 'force' in Star Wars: everyone talks about it but no one has ever seen it. It has to be made tangible. Then investment, both in staff training and in technology. This sounds obvious, but companies with low profitability often find it difficult to separate the management of the present from the necessary preparation for the future through investment. When cash is tight, I recommend borrowing to finance the future. Finally, the last point relates to the preparation of responses to crisis situations, well before they occur.
Can you give examples?
The 360 approach to crisis management applies at all levels: from a sudden and temporary media crisis to the management of a serious financial crisis. In concrete terms, I advise companies to clearly share a culture that is in tune with the times, based on a resolutely positive mindset, focused on problem solving, effective communication and a strong sense of responsibility at all levels. This makes it possible to accommodate teleworking and to prepare an army of colleagues ready to face both the challenges of the present and the uncertainties of the future. 360Crossmedia, for example, was able to reorient its activities towards video in 2020 thanks to the investments we had made in 2018 in www.360box.fr. After a record year in 2019, we managed to grow by 20% in 2020 and then by another 20% in 2021.