Friday, April 22, 2011

When Crisis Planning, Nothing Is Too Far Fetched

Nothing is too far-fetched when it comes to crisis planning.

So often, when we work with clients preparing crisis plans, they think in terms of fires, explosions, natural disasters or work place violence. We encourage them to consider all the “people” kinds of things that can go wrong, also, such as all the forms of harassment and discrimination, unethical behavior, criminal activity and mismanagement.

But there’s one other thing to consider – rarely is a business or organizational crisis just one “thing.”

When crisis planning, or anticipating a crisis drill or table top exercise, think “unrealistic” and you will more likely be “realistic” in your crisis anticipation.

A case in point: Japan.

You don’t have to imagine the complicated series of events, they really happened.

It started with a near record earthquake. Then came the tsunami, followed by massive fires and a nuclear disaster, then snow and miserably cold weather, followed by massive power outages, food, fuel and water shortages, and thousands of missing people.

Does your crisis plan have a section for that kind of crisis? It should.

I often joke with clients that their crisis plans should be like the old Sears Roebuck and Company line of children’s clothes, branded as Geranimals. The idea was that dads never could dress their young children properly, so Sears offered a line of clothes that had pictures of animals on a tag. If dad was to dress his three-year daughter for the day, he would look for a blouse that had a tag with a lion head on it, and a skirt or slacks that had a lion head on it and he was good to go.

Crisis plans and standby statements can be prepared well in advance of anything ever going wrong. Then, when “X” happens you look for those parts of the crisis plan and those pre-approved standby statements that go together, and you are on your way to taking control of even the worst situations.

No comments:

Post a Comment