Survey Shows You Can Come Out of a Crisis Stronger

Thom Weidlich 07.25.19


Consulting giant PwC did its first global crisis survey, and to our minds the most interesting finding is the ability to come out of a crisis stronger and better. How did these companies emerge stronger? PwC points to some answers.

PwC surveyed executives at 2,084 companies in 25 industries and 43 countries. Of them, 1,430 (69 percent) said they had experienced at least one major crisis in the previous five years, for a total of 4,515 crises. (Almost all of the respondents — 95 percent — said they expected to be hit with a crisis at some point.)

Of those 1,430 that had a major crisis, a surprisingly high number (42 percent) said they emerged from it “in a better place,” with some even reporting revenue growth. (We recently highlighted another study showing that good handling of a crisis involving celebrity endorsers can increase the stock price.)

PwC in the survey, entitled “Crisis Preparedness as the Next Competitive Advantage,” attributes this success to several factors:

  • Having a crisis budget. Of the firms that said they came out ahead from the crisis, 41 percent also said they had a budget dedicated to crisis management.
  • Having a crisis plan in place. More companies that had a crisis plan did better than those that didn’t — 54 percent to 30 percent. “And those that keep their crisis plan up to date and implement the lessons learned are four times more likely to come out on top,” according to PwC.
  • Committing to gathering the facts. Three quarters of the successful crisis handlers said they were able to get their facts right early in the crisis.
  • Committing to great teamwork and sticking to values. Of those that came out better, 93 percent said they had worked well as a team; of those that had come out worse, only 39 percent said that.
  • Evaluating performance. Eight out of ten of the successful companies acted on their post-crisis analysis of their handling of the crisis: 33 percent made a few changes, 24 percent “defined several projects to be completed,” and 24 percent took “substantial action,” which included action to reduce the impact of a similar crisis in the future and to get a better understanding of other crises.


That’s a lot to get right. But, as PwC and the survey’s title say, doing so shows that a crisis can be a competitive advantage.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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