Sunday, May 30, 2010

CEO crisis manager

Good to see Qantas Chief Executive, Alan Joyce, extolling the virtues of crisis management in Business Review Weekly magazine. "Flexibility and adaptability is really key," says Alan Joyce, the diminutive, Irish-born Chief Executive of Qantas, without any hint of irony. "We have a fairly refined crisis management team and crisis management process, probably more so than many other companies." Joyce was talking about a broad range of threats including the volcano turmoil where Qantas lost $10 million during the threat to air travel. "It's what (my predecessor) Geoff Dixon calls the constant shock syndrome...we plan on a steady state and then we plan scenarios and risks around that. But the volcano would not have been on the risk register." (BRW May 6-12,2010 - Managing the Unmanageable)

There is determined growing recognition among CEOs that crisis management is part of day-to-day planning. The process, its respondents and its leaders need to have matured either in an arena of real crises or with the experience of test runs. Best practice is practice. CEOs and crisis teams need to practise together. Organisations never know when the worst case scenario can happen but they can be prepared to handle adversity and minimise the impact when it does.

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