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Risky Business: How to Avoid It

with Melissa Agnes

Risky Business: How to Avoid It

with Melissa Agnes

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Risk is a part of life. When it comes to business, everyone is open to risk. This is why we are so excited to have Melissa Agnes on the show today. Melissa is an author, keynote speaker, and risk management and crisis management expert. According to Melissa, she sees risk, risk mitigation, and resulting opportunities from that mitigation everywhere. She also puts people first and emphasizes having an emotional and logical response.

In this show, we talk about how to build an invincible brand, how to understand the difference between crisis and issues, and even how to make your organization stronger through preparing for possible issues and crises that could come up. Melissa is very passionate about this topic and has helped organizations like NATO, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, financial firms, technology firms, health organizations, cities, municipalities, and more with their crisis readiness.


Show Notes

[06:34] Melissa has been an entrepreneur since she was 21. She began creating photomontages and then moved on to web development, social media, and branding.

[07:32] Melissa sees risk and mitigation strategies, and opportunities through that mitigation everywhere.

[08:15] She realized she had a talent for this when she was doing her morning reading and started wondering why no one is worrying about the risks of social media.

[08:31] She realized that the risks were easy to mitigate, and there were so many opportunities once you reach that level.

[08:43] She spent a year devouring everything she could find on crisis management. She also realized that crisis management professionals weren't talking about technology and the way the world is changing.

[09:51] She got a call from one of her website business customers that there was a Twitter rumor that was going to cause them to lose all of their investors. Melissa made the media calls and took care of the problem. The company not only didn't lose their investors, but their stock went up.

[10:50] She realized that she could offer a service that businesses actually needed.

[11:16] She started blogging about the big questions that she thought organizations should ask themselves. She was also approached by crisis management professionals, and her business was born.

[14:53] She helps organizations get crisis ready. This means she helps prevent the preventable and have a culture in place that's able to instinctively respond to any negative event.

[15:41] Her clients don't have crises because they are crisis ready. If something does happen, they are able to deescalate it down to a manageable level.

[18:09] Tampering with a product is a risk that could have been foreseen.

[21:35] Melissa has always been aware of knowing what the risks are and then being able to assess whether it's worth engaging or not.

[22:45] Every business has a series of scenarios that could be high impact.

[23:48] In a scenario where a local restaurant has a food poisoning outbreak, the first thing you want to do is scale it by deciding whether it's an issue or a crisis.

[24:16] A crisis is a negative event that stops business. It affects long-term material impact on people, stakeholders, the environment, the business's operations, its reputation, and or its bottom line.

[24:54] An issue doesn't stop business as usual. It doesn't threaten long-term material impact, but everyone is in hyper business mode.

[26:01] An issue would be the farmer calling you before you stock the bad lettuce.

[26:44] A crisis would be people eating the bad lettuce and getting sick.

[26:45] You have to take the right course of action to fix the problem and communicate effectively. You have to do both of these to manage a crisis.

[27:20] In the scenario, we would close down the contaminated restaurant and investigate what happened.

[27:59] Communicate for public safety and share the answers you have and explain what you're doing to find the answers you don't have.

[29:58] People above process and the bottom line always.

[30:56] Window covering company example. News of unfair hiring practices. Issue versus crisis. This can be an issue. Virality is relative.

[32:24] Emotions run high in times of crisis, but you have to look at the long-term effect.

[34:57] Fix the issue and communicate how and why you're fixing it. Use the right language that speaks from your heart.

[35:28] Look for an emotionally compelling story that is highly relatable and in a shareable format. This is the recipe for going viral.

[37:13] Wrap your logic in an emotionally compelling story or validation, relatability, and proof.

[41:33] Define the difference between an issue and a crisis and then have a brainstorming session with your team. Each team member will have a different fear. Create a brain dump of what could go wrong. Then categorize, prevent, and respond.

[45:13] Becoming crisis ready actually strengthens relationships within an organization.

[52:10] Melissa also has a coaching group and eventually plans on turning her book into a course. Her long-term goal, once she conquers crisis management for business, is to help with crisis management in people's lives.

Thank You

Tracy Oswald
Andre Archimbaud


Rob Heath -
Ronan Fitzgerald -


Melissa Agnes