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The Tactical Ingenuity Pyramid Thinker's Manual (includes a Tactical Ingenuity Pyramid)

The Tactical Ingenuity Pyramid Thinker's Manual (includes a Tactical Ingenuity Pyramid)

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ABSTRACT

The Tactical Ingenuity Pyramid © (TIP) is a strategic THINKING TOOL developed to help managers and their communications advisors creatively anticipate, identify, analyze, interpret, control, and counteract the unplanned visibility caused by emergencies and vulnerabilities in their businesses. The pyramidal shape itself has a purpose -- to graphically and in three dimensions illustrate the strategic options needed for managing problems. The idea is based on an important assumption: that experienced communications practitioners and managers can use the Pyramid to draw out their intuitive skills.

When assembled, the Pyramid serves as a focusing object designed to trigger intuitive approaches stimulated by the random associations madein connection with the organization of the descriptive terms found on its various parts.

The Pyramid’s lower portion is divided into those four basic, two-dimensional elements every emergency situation seems to have. These are: Expectations (of those involved and those afflicted as well as by-standers), Causes (in and out of the organization), Environment (in which the crisis or emergency is occurring), and Players (those individuals and organizations who participate or are affected by the emergency or situation). The upper part of the Pyramid represents four strategic approaches to managing emergencies and problem situations: Pre-empt (acting ahead of events), Control (managing the current situation), Contain (moving with events), and Counteract (acting after events have occurred).

INTRODUCTION

Every organization faces potential emergency and crisis situations. Those in charge need competent and quick advice and useful options drawn from existing knowledge and past experience to quickly develop the proper ingredients for decision making. Those ingredients factored into a useful framework for taking action create an ability to manage emergencies and bad news in ways that minimize their negative impact on public and internal audiences.The framework for decision making is simple and straightforward:

* An appropriate description of what is actually happening.
* A reasoned interpretation of the scope and impact the emergency is having, will have, and can have; the patterns of audience behavior from past similar circumstances; plus the probable trend of events.
* At least three options, including doing nothing, in terms of tactics and strategies from which management can select its course of action.
* Specific recommendations.
* Contingencies and negative unintended consequences that may cause additional vulnerabilities.

Where do solutions come from when everything seems to be coming apart?

Adrenaline-generating, career-threatening, urgent situations create an atmosphere in which a special kind of critical management focus emerges along with organizational resolve to meet the emergency and overcome it. The role of public communications is often critical in diminishing the length of time the organization is subjected to the effects of the emergency; in helping management focus on key goals and objectives during the critical early minutes and hours; in minimizing the aftereffects of the organization’s handling of the problem in terms of perceptions among key audiences; and in the long-term management of the problem.

The inexperienced communicator’s thinking is often limited to disclosure, news releases, press kits and news conferences. Technically these may be important, but there are always largerconsiderations, bigger issues, and consequences that surprise us.

The concept of tactical ingenuity and the Tactical Ingenuity Pyramid © are meant to foster a state of mind opened to a broader range of options and tactics. They are designed to help users recognize the behavior patterns of key audiences, players, and outside forces, and to address key issues and problems quickly, thereby reducing the enormous pressu