Engaging the top team in crisis preparedness

Crisis-Management-Insights-Survey-2015-011.pngChief executives, managing directors and other senior business leaders are failing to engage fully in crisis preparedness and risk undermining their organisation’s ability to manage crises, according to Steelhenge and Regester Larkin’s latest crisis management survey.

The survey of 170 large companies from 27 countries revealed that big business understands the need to prepare for a crisis, with 86 per cent of respondents owning a crisis management plan, 59 per cent carrying out crisis training and 68 per cent conducting crisis exercises at least annually. It is clear that crisis preparedness is high on the agenda. Continue reading

‘Strategic’ and ‘operational’ resilience – establishing more comfortable bedfellows

Untitled-1By Dominic Cockram

The more I hear of the current discourse on organisational resilience, the more uncomfortable I find myself feeling.

The concept has been around for a long time and was brought sharply into focus in 2014 by the British Standard, BS 65000: Guidance on Organisational Resilience. As one of the editors, I was party to vivid and lengthy discussions and much positive disagreement as we ranged around the topic of organisational resilience, what it meant and how best to set it out in a standard. In the end, what came out was a ‘Guidance’ and that was an excellent result. Resilience is a complex and many faceted concept and it would have been wrong to go too far in framing an approach at this stage.

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Business Impact Analysis: value added or added toil?

The business impact analysis (BIA) is a key facet of any business continuity programme. It sits right at the heart of the benefit that business continuity can bring to any organisation.

It has concerned me recently that I have read a number of papers suggesting that the business impact analysis is either unnecessary or that short cuts could be used. While it is understandable that people would like to reduce the work involved in delivering a business continuity project, to play around with the business impact analysis without understanding the risks of doing so is to put the whole business continuity plan at risk.

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Joining the crisis dots – How simulation exercising can create a culture of crisis sensitivity

By Dominic Cockram

As a crisis dotscrisis management professional, I have worked with many different crisis teams over the years. What has become apparent is that, in the majority of cases, those conducting the operational response to a crisis (and by that I mean at both the bronze/operational and silver/tactical levels) have little understanding of the strategic drivers, priorities and concerns, and potential challenges of the executive or ‘gold’ level.

This lack of understanding can fail to give those protecting the organisation’s license to operate what they really need to fulfil their role. Resulting in delayed escalation, incorrect assumptions and the transmission of skewed information to the top. Continue reading

Key Themes from the Crisis Management Conference 2014

IMG_0580Last month, we were delighted to welcome a capacity audience of international delegates to the Crisis Management Conference (CMC) 2014 in London.

The day had an auspicious start with the official launch of the new British Standard in Crisis Management, BS 11200 by the UK Cabinet Office and the British Standards Institution.  BS 11200 is the successor to PAS 200 and marks a significant point in crisis management as it codifies accumulated best practice into top-level guidance for organisations looking to implement a crisis management capability.

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Launch of BS 11200 – the new British Standard for Crisis Management

bs11200In May this year, the Cabinet Office and BSI published BS 11200 – the new British Standard for Crisis Management – Guidance and Good Practice.  Its official launch will be on 18th September in London.

Many would say the new Standard is long overdue; others that crisis management is already covered by ISO 22301, the International Standard for Business Continuity Management Systems.  However, whatever your view, no one can demur from the fact that BS 11200 covers the subject in far more depth and detail than any other Standard hitherto.

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Situational Awareness – supporting the CEO’s critical decision-making in a crisis

By Dominic Cockram

Situational awarenessThis blog is the second in a series that looks at the challenges of managing information in a crisis and how to ensure the top team gets the information it needs. The first looked at “Managing the Upward Flow of Information in a Crisis – What Matters Most?” Here managing information to build situational awareness is under the spotlight – how to pull together that cohesive and informative picture that gives the boss just what he needs and no more.

It is a fact that almost all crisis teams find information management one of the greatest challenges in responding to an incident. Why does this matter? It matters because effective information management is the bedrock that allows the critical decision-making by the strategic crisis management team that will lead an organisation out of a crisis.

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Resilience and Crisis Management – what to look for in 2014?

By Dominic Cockram

Opinions on hot topics for 2014As the torrential rain and gales continue and, with the wettest January in UK already recorded, the mind swings to what else 2014 will hold for us within the resilience and crisis management world. Just for starters, we should see the launch of two new British Standards for Crisis Management and Resilience, both borne of the increasingly turbulent world in which organisations are operating and striving for success. I have also compiled a list of the Top 10 topics most likely to influence us this year. Continue reading

‘ANTIFRAGILE – Things that gain from disorder’

By Nick Morgan

In his new book, a sequel to the hugely successful ‘The Black Swan’ (2007), Nassim Nicholas Taleb frames the concept of ‘antifragile’.

taleb-illustration_2415090bTaleb’s concept is simple and his argument is convincing – some organisations collapse in a crisis, others genuinely benefit from them.  The ability to thrive in adversity (but ethically and never at the expense of others) is the hallmark of his ‘antifragile’ concept.  His simplest example, and one of the most powerful images in the book, is of fire – a fragile candle will be extinguished by a gentle wind, but an ‘antifragile’ flame will grow in the wind, spread and burn more fiercely.

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Lessons learned – or are they?

By Katie Collison

A key theme to emerge from the 2013 Crisis Management Conference held in London in May this year was post crisis learning. The distinguished panel of speakers from the UK Cabinet Office, Unilever, Goldman Sachs, the BBC and Bank of England, unanimously agreed that it is all too easy to identify what went wrong in a crisis response or an exercise, but far harder to ensure that the lessons so welcomed are actually turned into change and implemented to protect and prevent the same things happening again. Continue reading