Issues management

Resolve issues to prevent crises

An issue is a non-acute threat to an organisation’s strategic, commercial and reputational interests which, if left unresolved or ignited by a ‘trigger’ event, could escalate into a crisis. We help organisations manage and resolve issues to protect – and often enhance – reputation. Issues management is the opportunity to establish and implement the right strategy to move an issue from a state of strategic or reputational risk to a managed state or resolution.

How Deloitte can help?

Issues management support

Devise and implement strategies to manage and resolve issues

Issues identified as posing a potentially significant reputational risk need urgent attention. Most can be managed or even fully resolved through the development and execution of an issue management strategy.

Issues management is not purely a communications discipline. Issues – especially those being driven by politicians, NGOs or others outside the organisation – may be strongly felt in corporate affairs, but managing them is about making decisions and often implementing organisational change. Issues management teams are therefore mostly cross functional and have the mandate to think big to find resolution, and even competitive advantage.

We work with organisations to assemble and facilitate issues management teams and steer them towards successful outcomes. We help our clients to set strategy on new issues and course-correct strategy on established issues. We know what resonates with stakeholders – internal as well as external – and what doesn’t.

Once a strategy is set, we often facilitate the team as it devises and delivers the tactical issue management plan the strategy requires. We provide constant challenge and an outside, expert perspective. And we help to measure and report success.

Capability building

Establish robust issues management responses by developing policies and processes and deploying training programmes

The principles of good issues management are: leadership, structure, process and competence. We work with clients to build and maintain all aspects of this capability.

A good issues management structure must encourage ownership, empower decision-making and provide helpful guidance and tools. The process should be simple. Convoluted systems encourage procrastination, not resolution. The more time people spend managing an issues management system, the less time they spend actually managing the issues.

To encourage successful issues management, organisations should focus on ensuring clear lines of responsibility, training a team of confident individuals who know their powers, limitations and reporting requirements, and who have access to an issues management toolkit and resource. Rolling out an issue management process helps to raise awareness of reputation risk and build competence at the same time.