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Crisis Management: Do You Have The Right Plan?

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By: Jack Garson | October 1, 2019

Every day you see another business blow-up. Good crisis management is all about companies dealing with problems the right way. Most don’t. The last thing you want to do is learn how to manage a crisis in the middle of one.

Good crisis management is all about companies dealing with problems the right way. Most don’t. Every day you see another business blow-up. WeWork’s problems grew, its value tanked, and the IPO was canceled—after excusing the CEO from any further duties (does that make it “MostOfUsWork”?). Vapers are being stricken with a mysterious lung illness and in the wake of this health crisis, Juuls’ CEO departs and its prospects plunge. Then there is the opioid epidemic which has, deservedly or not, pummeled numerous companies, but especially Purdue Pharma—maker of OxyContin—which just entered bankruptcy.

Crises abound. Good crisis management does not. Plan for the worst. The last thing you want to do is learn how to manage a crisis in the middle of one.

Planning For The Worst

People struggle with crisis planning. You get extremes. There’s the prepper with a 20-year supply of tinned sardines in his basement—which means you’ve created a plan where the prize for “surviving” is a banquet of 20-year-old sardines. Ewww. At the other extreme, you see the opioid industrial complex. They’ve haltingly stumbled into reaction mode as the health crisis and lawsuits grew—a game plan which the vaping industry is avidly copying. Meanwhile, attorneys general and a volt of lawyers circle overhead.

It’s easy to overreact. It’s easy to hide. But each extreme is costly.

For you youngsters, Johnson & Johnson was once THE Jedi Master of crisis management (notwithstanding the recent talcum powder and opioid lawsuits against J&J). In 1982, seven people died in the Chicago area from Tylenol laced with potassium cyanide. J&J did not collapse into a defensive crouch or come out attacking. Instead, the company wisely and bravely took on the storm. J&J rapidly publicized warnings, pulled all of its Tylenol pills from shelves—regardless of evidence of tampering—and offered refunds. Next J&J suspended all Tylenol sales until the company was able to sell them in then-revolutionary tamper-resistant bottles. Ultimately, J&J and Tylenol came out of the crisis stronger.

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ABOUT JACK GARSON | 240.507.1744

Jack Garson’s practice focuses on Real Estate, Construction, and Business law. He serves as a legal advisor for numerous local, regional and national companies, focusing on business, commercial real estate and construction law. In addition to providing legal counsel, Jack serves as a strategic advisor and negotiator for many clients, providing guidance on issues such as the growth and sale of businesses, liability and risk reduction, hiring and retention of key personnel, protecting and enhancing profitability, and negotiating the resolution of complex commercial disputes.

Jack has successfully negotiated commercial transactions, ranging from the purchase and sale of multi-million-dollar businesses to the structuring of nine-figure construction contracts, and the sale and leasing of commercial properties throughout the United States.


Offit Kurman, a full-service AmLaw 200 law firm with offices throughout the East Coast and in Southern California, serves dynamic businesses, individuals and families. Founded in 1987, the firm’s 280+ attorneys counsel clients across more than 30 areas of practice. Offit Kurman helps maximize and protect business value and personal wealth by providing innovative and entrepreneurial counsel that focuses on clients’ business objectives, interests and goals. The firm is distinguished by the quality, breadth and global reach of its legal services and a unique operational structure that encourages a culture of collaboration.