When a PR crisis breaks out, there are several steps that most companies know should be taken immediately to stem the tide of negative publicity. So why is it that so many CEOs fail at crisis management? Thatís a question posed recently in a PRWeek post.

Why would BP CEO Tony Hayward, facing a massive oil spill catastrophe, decide to go sailing on his yacht instead of heading down to the gulf and holding a press conference? Was it that there was no crisis management plan in place, or did the company simply not follow it?

As the post suggests, whether you have a plan or not (and if you donít, you need to get one fast), senior management of any company should be clued in to the basics of handling a media storm. CEOs especially need to know the fundamentals of crisis management and make sure that the channels are always open if a crisis blows up. Also, management should designate a PR professional to manage a media crisis, not rely on the counsel of attorneys, who typically make matters worse when dealing with the media.

One would think that after the outrageous media catastrophes we have witnessed over the past year that management would begin to prepare in advance for negative events. Unfortunately, events and responses continue to prove that this just isnít the case.