Superstorm Sandy: A Resilience Round Up

By Dominic Cockram

Last month, Superstorm Sandy wreaked devastation across the Caribbean and America’s north-east. When an event as mighty and tragic as this occurs, it often takes a while for the dust to settle and for stories of courage and continuity to emerge.

By far the best overview of Sandy’s impact that we’ve found is this summary from the New York Times with interactive maps and images of the damage caused: http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/newsgraphics/2012/1029-hurricane-updates/ipad.html

Below, we highlight the key messages, most important lessons and the best articles on emergency preparedness, crisis communication and business continuity that emerged in Sandy’s wake.

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Public vs Private: Are the stakes higher for commercial organisations in a crisis?

By Katie Collison

Recent events and corporate crises have got me thinking – are the immediate impacts and long-term consequences the same for both public and private sector organisations?

The Financial Crisis – a case in point

Blame for the 2008 financial crisis has been apportioned to both the private sector banks, and also their public-sector regulators (namely the FSA) for failing to ‘limit the impact of the misjudgments made by the financial institutions’.

So how do the impacts and consequences compare Continue reading

Crisis Management in 360 degrees

By Dominic Cockram

For any Crisis Management Team to be effective, it needs a clear and shared understanding of what’s already happened, what’s happening now, and a vision of how the future might play out. This situational awareness is fundamental to managing a crisis — indeed it is the first stage in our ‘6 Steps to Controlling a Crisis’ (read the blog post here). It may seem basic, but there are too many cautionary tales of executives who had little or no idea of exactly what was going on as they tried to make critical decisions for anyone to consider it an ‘easy’ task.

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Six Steps to Controlling a Crisis

By Dominic Cockram

Crisis hits, routines go out the window, everyone runs around … so when can you say that you are in command of the situation?  Doesn’t ‘crisis’ automatically mean an intense period of constant chaos that eventually ebbs, and then stops? It doesn’t have to – you can be simultaneously in crisis, and ‘in control’.

Inevitably, there will be a stage in the immediate aftermath of any crisis where a feeling of chaos reigns; where no-one seems to know enough and events appear to be out of control.   Continue reading

Soft skills for hard realities: the personality traits of successful crisis managers

By Dr Claudia van den Heuvel

The ability to respond effectively in a crisis requires strategic, decision-making, leadership and thinking skills very different from those applied in a normal working day. Crises impose a kind of management in extremis which demands non-technical aptitudes most readily learned and retained through frequent exposure.

Repeated, real-life exposure to crises is obviously neither possible nor desirable. So how do managers develop the ‘soft’ – yet absolutely critical – skills necessary to manage through a large scale incident?

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4 Lessons Learnt from London 2012

By Dominic Cockram

The London Olympics 2012 was a huge success, with Team GB surpassing all expectations and Olympic fever gripping the country – all without any major incident. Many have compared it to Y2K as ‘a lot of fuss over nothing’, but without the years of planning and preparation of all those involved, it could have been a very different story. From a business continuity perspective, the Games were an undisputed success – but there are still (as always) lessons to be learnt.

At BCM World last week, members of LOCOG, BT, the Canary Wharf Group and the BBC spoke about what they had learnt from the experience. These were their main conclusions:

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Where next for organisational resilience?

By Dominic Cockram

Yesterday we gave a presentation at the BCM World conference entitled ‘‘Culture, Behaviour and Disciplines: Mapping the Needs for a Resilient Organisation” – Thanks to all who made it a great discussion about what creates resilience and how it can be benchmarked and mapped in a useful way.

It was excellent to gain feedback from business continuity practitioners – a (healthily) cynical and well-informed audience if ever there was one!

The key conclusions drawn from our presentation and the subsequent debate were: Continue reading

Lights on at Goldman: When good business continuity triggers criticism

By Dominic Cockram

Last week, while Hurricane Sandy continued to cause devastation across America’s east coast and floods in New York City had yet to subside, images of the Goldman Sachs building lit up against a dark skyline (see above) was shared across social media. While this beacon of light was testament to their rock-solid business continuity planning and preparation, many saw it as a symbol of corporate greed and all that is wrong with modern America.

Here are a choice few reactions from the Twittersphere:

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Leading through a Crisis: did Obama pass Crisis Management 101?

By Dr Claudia van den Heuvel

The old cliché is true: in every crisis lies an opportunity, and never more so than for those who display great leadership in difficult times – successful leaders emerge stronger, more trusted and with enhanced reputations. So what makes a successful leader? And did Obama display these crucial qualities when faced with the devastation wrecked by Superstorm Sandy?

Confident Leadership: springing into action

Within a crisis, people look to a leader to be confident, in charge, directive and establish a sense of control. Leaders must be seen to be making immediate, authoritative and directive action to establish that control.

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