Keep Swimming: Are You Ready For a Crisis?

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You’re on the way to work and feeling PUMPED (with a capital P). You smashed your morning workout, got the kids to school on time and the traffic is, well, moving.

You arrive at work and ready to keep the good vibes going. You open your office door and everything is chaos… Wait, what?

Your employees are frantic, clients are calling and you’re too scared to refresh your mailbox. You have just been hit with a crisis.

Crises are inevitable. In fact, a PWC survey revealed that 65% of CEOs admitted to experiencing at least one crisis in the past three years. As if it couldn’t get worse, a staggering 51% of companies admit to not having a crisis management playbook.

See the problem here?

No one hopes or expects a crisis to happen. But, ignorance of the fact that it could won’t prevent a crisis from raising its ugly head. Preparation is essential, and the faster you retaliate the sooner you can move on and forget it ever happened.

So, where do you begin?

Here are the 5 key steps required to creating a crisis action plan for your business.

1 Take Stock of Your Risks

Every business has them, so assess your risks. Identify any potential crises that could disrupt your business function and/or processes.

Work together with your employees to list all relevant threats and vulnerabilities that could impact your company.

These often include:

  • promotional gaffes,
  • product recall,
  • data contravention, etc.

2 Business Impact Analysis

A business impact analysis (BIA) is a systematic process to determine and evaluate the potential effects of an interruption to critical business operations, as a result of a disaster, accident or emergency. It’s an essential practice in ensuring your company is considering every angle of a threat.

Working through a BIA can reveal the following:

  • Customer dissatisfaction/attribution
  • Damaged public reputation
  • Lost or delayed sales/income, etc

3 Determine Effective Contingencies

Having established your potential risks, you are now in a much better position to identify which actions can help your company respond effectively to each scenario.

Plot the steps required to resolve a given crisis, what resources are required, and how your employees will plug in to help.

4 Plan For Each Contingency

After identifying any potential crisis, flesh out your plans. Certain plans may require discussions with suppliers or contractors, to ensure that you have their cooperation.

As you work your way through the plans, make sure you keep in mind any relevant regulatory requirements, and determine how you will continue to meet them – even in the midst of a crisis.

5 Brief in Your Employees

A crisis happens fast and can cause stress and panic among your staff. Consider effective ways to quickly and effectively distribute a crisis plan to all relevant parties.

Consider training your team on your crisis management process. The more familiar you and your employees are with your responses, the quicker you will be to retaliate against a crisis.

Simply having a crisis playbook doesn’t mean you can pump the brakes. Quite the opposite. Revisit your crisis action plan regularly. Keep it up to date as new employees and technologies are introduced into your company.

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