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7 Attributes of a Crisis Management Capability

Crises are growing in kind, cost, and intensity. Which means that getting your crisis management capability off the ground has never been more important. But how do you know your crisis function will stand up to a disturbance?

Checking off that you’ve met all the attributes of a crisis management capability should help. Read on to learn what they are.

How to distinguish crisis-readiness

Indeed, quite a bit goes into being crisis ready. From the best-practice literature, the following themes emerge:

  • Clarifying crisis roles and responsibilities
  • Overseeing and directing coherent actions and transparent communications during a crisis
  • Determining ways to mobilize crisis management resources and activate associated processes

Attributes of a crisis management capability

Those aspects of crisis readiness might assist an organization in anticipating, responding, and recovering from crises in a manner that protects assets and objectives, but they don’t cover all aspects of a crisis management capability.

What then is characteristic of a well-oiled crisis management function? Again, according to the best practice, such a capability has the following seven attributes:

  1. Recognition of situations that require activation of crisis management
  2. People who are competent and responsible for quickly analyzing situations, setting strategies, determining options, making decisions, and evaluating their potential impact
  3. A common understanding of the principles that underpin crisis management structures and processes to translate decisions into actions, assign activities, and evaluate the results
  4. Personnel able to share, support, and implement top management’s vision, intentions, and policies
  5. The ability to support solutions by applying the appropriate resources in a timely manner
  6. An organizational structure that supports and maintains the ongoing crisis response capability
  7. A culture that supports the crisis management principles.

How to get a crisis capability off the ground

Those attributes establish a high floor for crisis readiness. And so, the question turns to, how to establish the appropriate frameworks and processes to get such a capability off the ground?

For starters, a crisis management framework should contain the following components:

  1. Crisis leadership
  2. Crisis structure
  3. Crisis culture
  4. Crisis competence.

Crisis management leadership, for instance, doesn’t just mean stewardship of crisis response and recovery but also engagement in the development, maintenance, and improvement of the crisis capability.

Crisis management culture and competence

However, organizations with impeccable crisis management leadership and structures still botch crisis response.

How can this be? Often, it’s the lack of a crisis management culture, one of the seven attributes of a crisis management capability.

How to build a crisis management culture?

That’s the job of leadership; here, leadership will have to encourage positive attitudes among employees concerning the upholding the organization’s core crisis management values. Values might include:

  • Learning to recognize and value risk awareness
  • Commitment to crisis management
  • Early warning
  • Organizational resilience and awareness
  • Psychological safety

What else should leaders be doing to promote a crisis management culture? They should also be promoting the ability to detect, assess, and communicate the latent conditions that contribute to a successful crisis management culture.

After all, that’s how employees will better appreciate the desired state, success criteria, and steps needed to establish competency in crisis management.

The final question then is what are the steps needed to establish such a competency? The best-practice literature lays them out. And it doesn’t get more best practice than international crisis management standard, ISO 22361. For an intro to the standard, download our Guide to ISO 22361.

Download the Authoritative Guide to Crisis Management Standard ISO 22361