Expectations of POTUS in “theater of crisis response”

The President of the United States may be one of the most available people on the Earth.  The POTUS’s entourage has many different type of communication gear – including people – to reach, inform and carry out orders.  I’ve always viewed notes about POTUS vacations as a mere fact that the White House virtually moved to wherever the POTUS has gone.

I saw this message:

And I thought to myself: there is an escalating Russia/Ukrane conflict, Israel/Palestine conflict, and a civilian airliner shot down … and POTUS goes to play golf?

There is a theater of crisis response.  The POTUS is expected to appear genuinely involved, informed and leading – even if they really aren’t doing anything.  The same is true for any C-level executive when a crisis is occurring in their company or with their customers or stakeholders.

Joe asked a good question.  President Obama took office on January 20, 2009.  Social media as we currently know it was just getting hold.  President Bush (2001-2009) didn’t need to deal with citizen reporting nearly as much as President Obama.  Taking a larger step backwards, President Reagan (1981-1989) leveraged broadcast media in new ways pulling from his movie and theater experience which separated him from the post-Watergate media that hounded Nixon (1969-1974). I think finding an exemplar is tough since the (r)evolutions in broadcast and social media may position each POTUS on unique ground regarding the public’s expectations of the POTUS during a crisis event.  Remember, we’re dealing with the public’s perception of the crisis.  Even if the POTUS has inside information about the actual level of the crisis, the POTUS must perform to the “theater of crisis response” as expected by the audience. This is when timeless elements of crisis response need to be considered.  The phrase “you need to be present to win” seems to sum up crisis response.

This breaks down to being in the right place to be perceived as being effective, engage and interested; making statements when a primary player is expected; allowing secondary players and subordinate subject matter experts to play their role; and listening to the audiences feedback.  The feedback will help adjust the tactics to resolve the crisis or change the audiences expectations of the POTUS during the crisis.

What makes you feel that the POTUS or C-level executive in a corporation are handling a crisis effectively?