Crisis Management: The Need for Internal Consistency

Attributed to former US Senator and Governor Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee, “Trust is built with consistency.”  Moreover, from statistics we know that Internal Consistency, “measures whether several items that propose to measure the same general construct produce similar scores.”  The follow on definition statistical reliability, “is the consistency of a set of measurements or measuring instrument, often used to describe a test.”

In our July 20, 2021 post, Are Your DEI Wheels Spinning? we posited that positive behavioral change as a result of a new situation/condition must result in relationships built on trust.  Without said trust, positive behavioral change is unlikely.

Situational Change and Differences of Opinion

Responsible individuals, organizations, and even industrial sectors can disagree.  In fact, ‘academic argument’ is a key component of the Scientific Method and science is never settled.  Moreover, most situations are fluid and those in crisis tend to be agitated.

That said, crisis management techniques demand well defined processes with identified owners.  Moreover, data must be shared and meet the dual tests of ‘valid and reliable.’  There is no room for sloppiness or data bias as was found in more than one occasion during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some argue that Covid-19 data issues are unique and due the global nature of the problem.  However, we are told that Big Data is the future or actually is now.  Solving Climate Change, enabling driverless electric vehicles and so on and so forth.  Based on current performance, it would appear we have a ways to go.  Despite statements to the contrary it is possible implement decision support systems quickly and with success.  This is actually not a new process.

Street Cred

Often viewed from the perspective of the colloquial.  One attains credibility based on perceived performance and not necessarily as a function of actual accomplishment.  Usually, highly visible this Influencer can hold sway in larger ways than are actually justified.  However, in their orbit these individuals hold the trust of their followers.  Those holding contrary views will lack trust from this group but may hold significant trust from others skeptical of said leader.

Both sides can loose trust and cred if ‘holes’ appear in the story line, narrative or agenda.  If the internal consistency of each position is weak, internal group pressures may ultimately destroy any impression of belief and trust.

This is somewhat where the world is with the established Public Health authorities.  Many hold the perception of perhaps actual misinterpretation, analysis and presentation of the Covid-19 data sets.  The counter position lacks credibility as well.


We have been a proponent of the Relationships, Behaviors, Conditions model for almost thirty years.  Simply put, when situations or conditions change, human behavior changes and vis-à-vis.  This directly impacts on the relationships between individuals or groups, even societies.

Large, controversial conditional movements, often with poor and even incompetent supporting data can lead to the erosion and even the complete breakdown of trust among affected parties.  Emotional, hyperbole, draconian and biased positions can accelerate the breakdown of trust.

Once this bond is broken, rebuilding trust is a very lengthy process.  Rebuilding trust is an act of leadership!

What is your organization doing to keep trust intact?

For More Information

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For more information on Cross Cultural Engagement, check out our Cross Cultural Serious Game

We presented, Should Cross Cultural Serious Games Be Included in Your Diversity Program: Best Practices and Lessons Learned at the Online Conference, New Diversity Summit 2020 the week of September 14, 2020.  Check Out this timely event and contact the organizer for access to the presentations!!

You can contact this author as well.

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