As part of our series on crisis management, we find out why training and exercises are some of the most beneficial things an organisation can do to handle a crisis. 4C crisis management expert Klas Lindström explains.
The old saying of practice making perfect doesn’t really apply mid-crisis. If you are looking to achieve a perfect outcome, you’re either not actually in a crisis – it’s probably more likely an incident that can be more easily dealt with – or you have a major problem. I say this because perfection requires time and a complete understanding of all the facts and possible outcomes. The very things lacking in virtually any crisis.
A crisis management model to handle uncertainty
When a crisis happens, you must be on your toes. A crisis often unfolds at pace and comes with a domino effect as one decision causes another event to occur, which requires another decision to be taken, and so on. Information may be at a premium or there may be information overload, making it difficult to distinguish between facts and disinformation. In a crisis, it’s not surprising that analysis paralysis sets in.
The fact of the matter is that decisions will have to be taken without all the facts. You cannot sit and wait for them in the hope of gaining a perfect outcome. The crises will move beyond you, and you will miss important chances to contain it. In crisis management, good enough must be your motto.
But how do you prepare for this, for dealing with making critical decisions with certain unknowns? Like everything, it’s through practice. Having helped hundreds of organisations to manage a crisis, it’s amazing to see the difference between those that have trained effectively with exercises and those that have not.
The main challenge for modern crisis management is being able to sort out what you want to achieve in a crisis situation. When you have limited resources, knowing where and how to allocate them is key. You need to understand which parts of your operations are most vital and be able to make fast and bold decisions to protect what is most important to your business. Obviously, this is not an easy task mid-crisis but it’s one that is made distinctly easier if you have been put under pressure to take such decisions in life-like exercises beforehand.
And it’s worth noting that the rewards for managing a crisis are far-reaching. Beyond the immediate impact of safeguarding critical business operations, the bounce-back effect can be significant. According to research by Deborah J Pretty, many companies who handle a crisis effectively see their stock value increase by approximately 20 percent within one year. Those who fail can see a drop in value of as much as 25 percent in a year. That’s a whopping 45 percent difference!
Preparations through effective Business Continuity Management and crisis management training and exercises remain the best way to prepare. That and a powerful crisis software solution. This can act as tool for analysing and testing capabilities, a secure server for crisis plans / processes for remote team members, and a critical support tool for managing a crisis effectively.
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