Natural disasters are growing in kind, cost, and intensity. We see evidence of it all the time. Having recently lived in California, I experienced back-to-back cataclysmic wildfire seasons – last year’s North California season left air in the Bay Area so smoke-laden that it ranked among the dirtiest in the world. And now, my home state of New South Wales faces the same scenario, a longer, more intense bush firefighting season, already on track to be the worst in decades.
Everywhere you turn, disruptive critical events are in the news – so too, the companies they affect. Just look at the Forrester report, Take A Unified Approach To Critical Event Management: the study finds that 100 percent – yes, you read that right – of companies surveyed had experienced a critical event in the last two years. That’s not even the full extent of it. Many of those companies actually dealt with multiple incidents during that time frame: the average was four, discrete critical events in a two-year period.
No doubt, you’ve heard of a team of rivals: the idea, popularized in a history of Abraham Lincoln, of recruiting your ablest rivals to positions of prominence and using their acumen in times of turmoil. Turns out, the theoretical concept isn’t that different from what actually happens in crisis management. Only, there, organizations staff crisis teams with business experts, rather than political rivals.
Topics: Crisis Management
Over the last few years, companies have taken major steps to get their crisis preparedness house(s) in order. For instance, the 2016 Institute of Crisis Management (ICM) Annual Crisis Report found that only half of all global organizations had crisis management plans in place. Fast forward to this year, when Deloitte released the findings of its global survey of 500 crisis management executives. That study, “Stronger, fitter, better: Crisis management for the resilient enterprise,” showed that no less than 84 percent of companies had crisis management plans in place. Not the same sample set, to be sure, but still a major jump in crisis management preparedness. But though companies seem to have cottoned on completely to the crisis threat, they’re not out of the woods quite yet. That’s because the reality of crisis is completely different than the ersatz version you’ll find in crisis plans and simulations.
When compliance aims drive your crisis planning, they do so to your detriment. I know, sounds a little counter-intuitive, especially when regulators mandate that businesses prepare emergency plans for the workplace.
The crisis threat is here – most likely to stay. According to the ODM Group, nearly 80% of business leaders think their companies are only a year away from crisis. They’ve good reason to: roughly four in five Crisis Management, Business Continuity, and Risk executives have had to mobilize their teams at least once in the past two years.
If your organization has a crisis communication plan, your team has probably thought long and hard about what you’ll say, to whom, and through what channels. If your organization, like nearly half of those surveyed by Nasdaq, has no crisis communication playbook, these are key questions to explore.[i] But whether your crisis team is revising the plan or building one now, remember that communication is not just about what you say. It’s also about listening to stakeholders.
Show me an executive who thinks they’ve got crisis leadership down pat, and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t have the first clue about the nature of crisis. That’s right. Crisis is nothing like you think. Of unusual-and I mean unusual-frequency and impact, a crisis, especially novel crisis, forces business leaders to take decisive steps to respond to challenges they’ve probably never confronted, without understanding the provenance of the crisis in the first place or the longer-term consequences of the crisis intervention they’re about to take.
Hey, Risk professionals! Heading to RIMS 2018, the best place to enhance your knowledge of emerging risks, claims, and cyber risks? Well, we’ll be there too, making some pretty big news in Crisis Management.
I remember once seeing a tourism ad for Fiji that stated, "It's like Hawaii, before the war!" although it was clearly written by someone like my brother who lives in Fiji... not that I'm jealous or anything.