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Effective business analysis & planning - eliminating crisis surprises


Alan WalkerDiscussions about Crisis Management often refer to ‘getting the call at 2 o’clock in the morning’. I have only experienced this once so the reality is that crisis events are not always surprises.

Consider a flu pandemic. Experience shows that notification of the emerging threat is provided before the impact reaches crisis proportions.

What about planned events? The key topic in the UK this year was the Olympics. We knew it was coming, we knew the risks and threats, we analysed the impact to our organisations.

Consider also the incidents reported to your IT or Facilities Helpdesks. The first notification may suggest an everyday incident affecting a small number of users but if the problem persists or extends it may develop into a crisis event.

I started an online discussion about the Government’s handling of the 2012 UK Fuel Crisis. There was merely a potential for a tanker driver strike but nevertheless the decision was made to take steps to mitigate the risks.

With each of the above scenarios the challenge is ‘when do we activate the Crisis Management Plan?’ and ‘when does it become a crisis?’ Common sense needs to prevail so that we take preventative actions to reduce or remove the potential impact. A Crisis Management Team Leader would rather be told about a potential event and have the option to act early.

If your organisation fails to act on a clear and emerging threat, you will face criticism from your stakeholders and observers so act when you need to.

Some key points to consider:-

  1. Prevention is better than cure.
  2. Look ahead to events in the future and take steps to prepare.
  3. Analyse trends and patterns from everyday incidents.
  4. Ensure the Crisis Management Team are briefed about potential threats.
  5. ‘With hindsight….’ Is not always a good place to be.
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