Is your Organisation Crisis-ready? [A Checklist]

September 11, 2018

Every leader needs to think seriously about how prepared they are to deal with a crisis. Rather than being forced to think on your feet during a stressful situation, having the training and expertise you need to handle it drastically raises your chances of saving the organisation and your reputation.

Besides the training and knowledge available in courses from Kiasu Crisis Management, a plan of action is essential. Here, we’re going to look at a checklist of what it takes for your organisation to be crisis ready. Without these fundamentals, you could be making all the wrong moves when major incident planning.

Are the definitions of a crisis precise?

The crisis management plan should be put into effect as soon as possible. However, to ensure that they aren’t enacted unnecessarily, you need to define a few things. In the process of major incident planning, what constitutes a crisis for the organisation? What are the triggers for starting the plan? Who is responsible and how is the team supposed to immediately respond?

Do you have a firm crisis leadership position in the organisation and the chain of command to back it up?

Immediacy and fast, effective decision making is key in a crisis situation. Your team needs to know who is in charge and they have to be able to effectively work with a chain-of-command. The leader in a crisis situation may not always necessarily be the manager or organizational leader if, for instance, the emergency services get involved. Following the original chain of command and adapting it to a change in first-in-command are both essential.

Ensure you have detailed action plans for all your people.

Rather than having to think about how you and your team will respond on the fly, it’s much safer to have action plans ready in advance. They should be addressed to specific people, roles, and groups, with realistic and time-related definitions for different steps and goals. The steps in the action plan should be verifiable, too, so you can ensure one step is carried out before moving on to the next.

Do you have the necessary backups of all critical contact information?

Maintaining the lines of communication with the top leaders in an organisation, such as the CEO or COO, is crucial. Should your regular contact databases be inaccessible, you should have both physical and digital backups at hand. This might include having contact cards in the wallets of everyone in a leadership role as well as a document on an accessible Cloud-storage system like Google Docs.

How is the organisation going to respond and communicate to the public?

Nowadays, reporting, both organic and press-organized, is much quicker than ever before. Having a timely statement out is crucial. Having key messages ready for different scenarios, as well as crisis scenarios that are yet to be fully defined, can help. Don’t expect to rely on your corporate website, which may be down due to the crisis or may be out of service because of high-traffic levels. Social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook may much more effective, instead. Don’t neglect to use the traditional media channels, such as the press, either. Maintaining a professional and polite rapport with them won’t necessarily win you a positive reporting, but it’s important to avoid giving them ammunition that can damage your reputation.

Have a disciplined approach to PR lined out in a set of rules.

Just as you require a leader to manage the resources and the team, you also need someone who is in charge of dealing with the press. Avoid letting others speak on social media or with the press about the incident, as you need someone who won’t lie or try to spin the situation and who will only comment on verifiable information. Similarly, there must be care taken to ensure that the communication isn’t joking or minimizing the situation.

Do you have the resources ready at your disposal?

Your crisis management plan will take time, effort, and resources to carry out, and your team will need the basics to keep things running. Know what you need and ensure that you have it set aside and your team knows how to access it so that the leaders aren’t constantly having to help them find it.

With the checklist above, your organisation can be more prepared for a crisis situation. Effective major incident planning is also about highlighting the issues you need to further work on. The training and readiness of your team is paramount amongst those, and courses from Kiasu Crisis Management can ensure just that.


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