When you're the CEO of an organization like Apple, you might as well hit "Reply All" to the world when you send an all-company email.

Uncorked in a BuzzFeed News article, Tim Cook addressed all Apple employees and opened up about the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Although the email took only minutes to read, it spoke volumes about Cook's character and gave every leader great tips on how to handle crisis situations.

1. Acknowledge the obvious and get everyone on the same page.

In crisis situations, cut straight to the chase and address the elephant in the room. Recognize collective feelings, be empathetic, and educate everyone on the situation. Then quickly pivot and focus on what can be done to recover.

As you know, Hurricane Harvey is having a devastating impact on Texas and Louisiana. Our thoughts are with our employees in the storm zone and the millions of people whose lives have been disrupted by rain, wind and floods. I want to update you on some of the things Apple has been doing to help, and ways that you can get involved.

2. Clarify efforts and let employees know how they can help.

During times of crisis, it's imperative that communication is clear and concise. People are anxious and will want to know specifically how the organization is reacting. A detailed action plan is crucial for organizing efforts and ensuring their maximum impact.

On the ground, Apple's global crisis management team is working to support our employees directly affected by the flooding in Texas. The team is in close contact with Apple employees in the Houston area, and they're actively doing everything they can to assist, including moving some employees and their families to safety. Apple employees in the Houston area have generously been helping people displaced by the flooding by opening their homes to team members and their families, and in some cases, assisting in rescue operations.

At our Austin campuses, we are kicking off a donation drive in partnership with the Central Texas Food Bank and Caffè Macs to collect food, diapers and personal hygiene items -- all things that are critical in the aftermath of a storm of this magnitude.

3. Let people know what they can communicate.

For those who are directly impacted by the crisis or for those who are responsible for fielding questions, it's vital that the organization keep employees abreast of their communications. Employees need to know what they can or cannot say.

As Harvey was making landfall, we put in motion critical donation programs. Apple is making it easy for customers to donate directly to the American Red Cross through the App Store, iTunes and apple.com, and we're matching employee donations two-for-one. Thanks to your generosity and that of our users, Apple has helped raise more than $1 million in just the past few days. That's in addition to the $2 million Apple pledged to the Red Cross over the weekend.

4. Set the tone and take a stand for the organization moving forward.

Don't leave any doubts when it comes to expectations and desired intentions. The tone is established from the top down and leaders need to be the first to act if they want their employees to follow suit.

Because Texas is home to more than 8,700 of our coworkers, the storm's impact is felt by all of us. There's still much to do, and Apple is committed to help.

The complete email is below:

_________________

From Tim:

As you know, Hurricane Harvey is having a devastating impact on Texas and Louisiana. Our thoughts are with our employees in the storm zone and the millions of people whose lives have been disrupted by rain, wind and floods. I want to update you on some of the things Apple has been doing to help, and ways that you can get involved.

On the ground, Apple's global crisis management team is working to support our employees directly affected by the flooding in Texas. The team is in close contact with Apple employees in the Houston area, and they're actively doing everything they can to assist, including moving some employees and their families to safety. Apple employees in the Houston area have generously been helping people displaced by the flooding by opening their homes to team members and their families, and in some cases, assisting in rescue operations. We're also proud that the U.S. Coast Guard is using Apple products in those efforts, with nearly two dozen USCG helicopters specially equipped with iPads to help coordinate search and rescue teams.

As Harvey was making landfall, we put in motion critical donation programs. Apple is making it easy for customers to donate directly to the American Red Cross through the App Store, iTunes and apple.com, and we're matching employee donations two-for-one. Thanks to your generosity and that of our users, Apple has helped raise more than $1 million in just the past few days. That's in addition to the $2 million Apple pledged to the Red Cross over the weekend.

Though our stores in the Houston area are still closed today, we're working hard to get as many as possible open tomorrow to serve people who have been impacted by the storm. Our teams are eager to help with problems large and small, and they know there are lots of people in that area who need it.

I was in Austin the day before Harvey came ashore, and the team was already bracing for the storm and the long recovery. Today that work continues. At our Austin campuses, we are kicking off a donation drive in partnership with the Central Texas Food Bank and Caffè Macs to collect food, diapers and personal hygiene items -- all things that are critical in the aftermath of a storm of this magnitude.

Because Texas is home to more than 8,700 of our coworkers, the storm's impact is felt by all of us. There's still much to do, and Apple is committed to help.

Published on: Aug 31, 2017
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