You don’t teach navigation in a storm
In today’s rapidly changing environment, crisis management is paramount. With multiple layers involved from identifying potential risks and responses, establishing roles and responsibilities, effective communications, to logistics and evacuation options, suitable planning is vital to a company’s success. We can assist in preparing for worst-case scenarios and respond swiftly and appropriately to all types of incidents and challenges.
Leadership for a government, a corporation or a community is viewed most acutely by the forethought and management of crisis situations involving that entity. It is imperative that plans, procedures, and crisis leadership be addressed before an incident happens.
The establishment of a Crisis Management Team is essential. Merletti Gonzales personnel have a wide range of experience in crisis management. MG can provide comprehensive, tailor-made plans specific to the client’s needs, conduct training and practical exercises with management and personnel, and perform audits to your plan.
Crisis management refers to the execution of a plan to help an organization address a significant and sudden negative event. An organization can experience a crisis due to an unpredictable event or an event that was acknowledged as potentially risky yet ended up having unforeseen consequences. No matter the case, it is essential that an organization in the midst of a crisis implements their crisis management plan to limit the damages incurred to the integrity and business continuity from the crisis. Key elements and information regarding crisis management and what it means for your organization are the following:
01. Assessment of current security and safety and identification of potential risks.
A security risk assessment methodology should be used that relies upon a team of subject matter experts to develop most probable scenarios and make recommendations to reduce risk. This is a technique that is consistent with the requirements of safety and hazard operability assessment tools used for risk assessment and management. When supporting clients, MG utilizes the well documented U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approved “Qualitative Risk Assessment through Risk Scenario Analysis.” During this process, current security and safety precautions may be assessed, any gaps identified, and recommendations for enhancements made. The assessment will highlight the risks and vulnerabilities facing an organization and the measures required in mitigation of these. The findings resulting from the process will identify the issues that will need to be covered in the Crisis Management Plan.
02. Developing of a Crisis Management Plan
The Crisis Management Plan is created by designated leadership personnel working through the scenarios identified in the Risk Assessment process and planning and recording the appropriate response to each. A viable, sustainable Crisis Management Plan is essential to support employees, prevent loss of life, minimize injury and to protect an organization’s assets. A Crisis Management Team (CMT), consisting of key management personnel, should be formed and individual responsibilities allocated. Where necessary, additional Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) should be included to join the team. The team may be led by the CEO, but if not, the designated team leader must have his/her authority to act. A dedicated, fully equipped Crisis Center will be required from which the Crisis Management Team will operate in the event of an emergency. An alternate venue should be available in case the primary center is compromised during a crisis.
In the event of a crisis, all actions must be well documented. The master plan is likely to be a lengthy document and consideration should be given to issuing abbreviated versions to team members, outlining their individual responsibilities.
03. Routine Maintenance and Training
The Crisis Management Plan should be considered a living document; therefore, it must be reviewed regularly. Routine training must be carried out where individuals have the chance to rehearse their roles—this includes specific training for the CMT and all personnel. Table top and practical exercises should be conducted with law enforcement and emergency services. In addition to regular in-house reviews of the plan, consulting an outside company such as MG should be considered.
Best practices for crisis management include the following:
- Create different plans for different types of crises or develop one comprehensive plan that addresses as many potential crises as can be identified.
- Establish practices and monitoring systems to make it possible to quickly identify signs of an impending crisis.
- Form a crisis management team and/or partner with an external crisis management firm with a strong track record when it comes to crisis management.
- Encourage stakeholders to participate in the process of planning and implementing a crisis management plan.