Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2014 Crisis Management Imperatives

In 2014, crisis management has moved further forward to support risk and resilience management. The unexpected crisis, both for government and corporations, has become a high priority. While hospitals, fire fighters and law enforcement response organisations continue to upgrade their capability, many executives and senior managers are not prepared either intellectually or emotionally to face rapid, escalating tragic events such as major accidents, corporate collapses, infrastructure failures, massive product recalls or acts of terrorism.

Even though some organisations have been through a major crisis, management avoids talking about the subject, often because they equate crisis with bad management and events like that do not happen on their watch.

The most rapid advancement in crisis management preparedness is the speed of communication. CEOs and managers at every level need to know and share information rapidly. In today's world of instant media coverage and social media commentary, if an organisation doesn't get its message out clearly and distinctly at the beginning of a crisis, someone else will take the high ground. The moment of control will be lost.

Then why are some organisations better able to take control of a crisis rapidly? The key elements are:

* The CEO and CFO have a commitment to crisis management and contingency planning for response to
threats that can harm the organisation's personnel, property and reputation.
* Divisional, subsidiary and affiliate management develop similar contingency plans in their areas
of responsibility consistent with the organisation's policies and procedures established by senior
* There is a clear identification and measurement of threats.
* Executive teams, divisional teams and site teams are trained and ready.
* The plan is tested, validated and current.

The crisis best practise organistions I work with understand that these are bottom line issues. They recognise that crisis management planning is a resilience strategy. They understand that uncontrolled crises can cause high employee turnover, interrupted workflow, massive asset damage, lawsuits, loss of market share and, in a corporate environment, a detrimental effect on share price.

Make 2014 the year to ensure that your people and your plans are functionally up-to-date. Take advantage of new technology to share information rapidly. Make sure your human resources, legal, risk, corporate governance and corporate affairs processes are linked with your executive rapid response. Err on the side of over-disclosure - credibility is the key to perception.