Updated: Nov 6, 2020
We are always going to face challenges in our professional and personal lives. Sometimes, tough situations can get out of control and turn into crises. We should always prepare and document business continuity procedures, which can be activated at a moments notice. This preparation could make a difference between struggling to stay the course or staying ahead of the curve.
The following guidelines should assist us in facing most crises. Whether we are dealing with an internal situation or an external event, a proper crisis management protocol will put us in control of the event instead of being reactive to the unexpected circumstances.
Risk Assessment. Before we start working on solutions for a crisis, we must conduct an informed risk assessment to determine the level of risks and how they will impact our business. We must understand the severity of the situation. We should also identify the risks cause and effect to build an effective action plan.
Information Quality. Staying informed will probably become the best way to prepare for an unexpected event. However, the quality of the information we use to structure our decisions will drive our next steps towards success or failure. Be very selective of your sources of information.
Transparency. The best way to face a crisis is to know the full scope of the challenge being faced. Withholding information can backfire and create a dangerous environment of high-risk conditions. Sharing information on a “need-to-know” basis does not mean suppressing critical details about the impact of the crisis.
Data Trends. It is imperative to review and understand the underlining data associated with the situation at hand. The related data can show key patterns that can be used to learn from previous events or reinforce what has worked before in similar conditions. Most crises have phases of warning signs that, when ignored, they can catch us by surprise. However, when the signs are monitored and acknowledge, they can help us minimize the overall impact of the emergency.
Local Impact. The magnitude of the event needs to be measured at a local and at a broader business level. It is not a good practice to take a global solution and apply it at a local level without consideration for smaller group characteristics. At the same time, local results should not drive macro solutions. The key is to scale solutions according to the groups being affected.
Short and long term plans. Every business should have a drafted short and long term business continuity plan ready to be implemented in case of a disaster. Short term plans should focus on the today-and-now. These plans will carry you through the next 180 days. Long term plans must leverage off the results of the short term plans, and should assist your business move on until the circumstances return what can be considered “Back to Normal.” Be aware that plans might need to be modified based on new information being received.
An open mind. All extremists are bad because they cloud our judgments. Those opposed to the current situation will fight to justify why the current status has to change. Those in favor of the current state will strive to convince you that we are in control of the situation; we will overcome these challenges and be back on our feet in no time, despite the impact generated by the crisis. The more significant challenge with extremists is that they look at issues in a dimensional world. Most complex problems, such as crises, need to be viewed in a tridimensional world because there is more to it than just right/wrong.
Behavior Management. When going through a crisis, it is imperative to understand that we all need to adjust our behaviors. A crisis is not an ordinary course of business; therefore, we will need to calibrate how we go about our business.
Managing a crisis will put to the test the strongest of teams, the most elaborate plans, and the savviest of business gurus. We can and should plan for how to stay in business in the event of a crisis. Keep in mind that the best plan is the one that can adjust to the situation at hand.
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