Skunks and Crisis Management
Updated: Sep 6
Yes, you read that right.
We are going to tell you a story that made us laugh, but the more we thought about it, it was a great example of crisis management.
We received this text from Susan’s brother:
“In the premiere episode of the new reality TV show ‘Love My Lair’, mother and son team, Patricia and Michael use reclaimed wood to give a hot, exposed skunk den a shady, Mediterranean style makeover!”
We realize this does need some explanation.
While visiting their mother, Michael heard some scuffling and squealing outside his window. When he looked out, he saw a mother skunk and four tiny babies trying to find shelter in a small concrete storm barrier that protected the crawl space underneath the house. He quickly sent videos to the entire family, and these skunks were adorable.
Mother and son now had a problem. What to do with this wildlife family?
Now many of you reading this will see this as a no brainer: Call animal control and get rid of them. But our family watched a lot of Animal Planet and National Geographic growing up, so there was no question that these skunks were going to be taken care of.
Michael and Patricia researched how to make mama and her babes more comfortable as well as humane ways of relocating a skunk family.
They found a Wildlife Rescue that could come out the next day. That solved the bigger problem, but the mom seemed very distressed so they wanted to make her more comfortable.
Here is what happened:
They found some old pieces of wood in the garage,
Changed their clothes,
Placed goggles over their eyes and
Gingerly walked to the side of the house.
They made some noise to see what mom would do (She stayed with her brood).
Michael crept toward the barrier,
Patricia handed him the wood,
Michael placed the wood on the barrier, creating a cool, dark den (aka Mediterranean style lair).
Relieved, they retired for the evening.
The next day, the skunks were gone.
Apparently, they just needed a place for the day (or maybe their taste ran more toward Art Deco).
Cute story, right? But what does it have to say about crisis management?
Let’s take a look at the effective crisis management path that Michael and Patricia followed:
Don’t panic and make knee jerk decisions: They didn’t run to the phone and call animal control which would have left them full of regret.
Get input from reputable sources: They called wildlife organizations and, of course, Googled to find out what skunks like in a den.
Evaluate your resources: They analyzed the equipment they had to address the situation (aka 2 pieces of scrap wood from the garage).
Develop a plan that takes stakeholders into account: They thought of their values (protection of wildlife), what would maximize the comfort of the skunks, as well as what would protect them from becoming very stinky.
Communicate clearly and concisely: They determined what each of them would do as they approached the skunk area.
Implement the plan: They choreographed the building of the den.
Follow up and re-evaluate: They checked the area the next morning and recognized that they did not need to action the rest of their plan.
We are happy to report that mama and her kits have not returned. We hope that they have found a den that meets more of their architectural aesthetic.
While we don’t know a lot about skunks, G2 Solutions does know a lot about how to get companies through a crisis in a way that builds sustainability. Give us a call to see how we can help.