I frequently get called in by organisations who are facing some sort of public crisis. Some of these are a result of events that couldn't be foreseen and they've suddenly hit the organisation like a tidal wave.
But most "crises" are, in fact, a result of smaller issues that have taken on giant proportions because no-one did anything about them when they were still small.
In our busy world, it's easy to let seemingly small issues slide. A customer is disappointed, a staff member does the wrong thing, or a decision doesn't go to plan. So what?
Well, the "what" could be that the matter begins to fester, gathers momentum, and eventually erupts as a major public problem. In these days of the Reputation Economy, where bad news goes global in a heartbeat, that's not a place your organisation wants to be.
When that happens, most of us ramp up the PR machine and turn the setting to "spin". That's like rushing the patient to hospital when they're in dire straits, instead of addressing the symptoms as soon as they arise.
Building reputation is much more than responding to issues once they've gone public. By then it's too late anyway. Instead, find ways to know what's going on inside and around your organisation. Have excellent monitoring tools, and make it your business to hone in and sort out small issues before they turn nasty.
Sweat the small stuff now, and you'll have fewer big headaches in the long run.