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

Volkswagen: a long road to recovery

By Dominic Cockram

220px-Volkswagen_logo_2012.svgIt has certainly been a busy few days for the VW crisis management team. If they had a mature and practiced crisis preparedness capability in place then hopefully they will have been hard at work for some time now. Suggestions are that others did have some foresight that all was not well in the industry from the roadside test reports, so there may have been some early work going on.

But, in facing this potentially overwhelming corporate crisis, how should VW set about managing the crisis, identifying their priorities and ensuring their reputation recovery? Continue reading

Managing Perception: Lessons from the Ebola epidemic shed new light on pandemic planning and response

Ebola-storyAs the tragedy of the Ebola epidemic continues to blight West Africa, the developed world has been reminded once again about the threat that diseases of epidemic proportion and pandemic potential pose in our globally connected world. It has also raised some complex questions in many organisations about exactly how they manage the realities and risks, both actual and perceived, of such disease threats in countries like the UK that have well-developed public health systems. 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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Ebola: The Facts

Last updated: 3rd December 2014

ebola 2Since the first incidence of Ebola was officially reported in March 2014, the disease has spread virulently across parts of West Africa and claimed 5738 lives in the process, leading the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare an international health emergency. There is currently no approved vaccine or treatment and Ebola can prove fatal in up to 90% of cases. As such, the recent outbreak has caused serious concern and attracted media attention across the world. In this post, which will be regularly updated, we aim to answer the most important questions for businesses affected by, or planning for, the Ebola outbreak and include the current risk assessment for the UK.

In addition, organisations have been reminded yet again of just how fragile their safety margins are from the impacts of infectious diseases and we have created an advice note with suggestions of how organisations should approach and develop their preparedness for disease outbreak please click here.

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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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The Crisis Management Conference 2014; Planning for Prosperity with a Coherent Crisis Management Capability

CMC2014 logo.jpgThe 2014 Crisis Management Conference (CMC 2014) will take place in London on Thursday 18th September. Delegates will be given a unique opportunity to hear speakers from the BBC, Network Rail, John Lewis, UBS, O2, UK Cabinet Office and the University of Liverpool discuss their first-hand experiences in preparing, responding and communicating in crisis. Click here to see the full programme.

Crisis management was long associated with failure and a desire to “keep covert” any crisis plans and preparations. Today, however, it is a topic of success, heralding responsible guardianship for the future well-being of an organisation’s people, performance, assets and reputation. It signals excellence in governance and leadership and is seen as an integral part of an organisation’s resilience, enabling it to thrive, survive and seize opportunity. Continue reading

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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Soft skills in the crisis management environment

By Dominic Cockram

A colleague and I delivered a presentation recently at the City Security and Resilience Networks (CSARN) conference on Crisis Leadership. It was based around much of the work we have been doing recently on the decision making and situational awareness aspects of crisis management. We considered the dynamics behind decision making in a crisis and the issues a crisis team and its leader are faced with. We looked at the individual, the leader and the team as a whole, taking into account what was most sought after in a perfect situation and what the psychological realities would impose upon people’s behaviours. Continue reading

Key themes from the inaugural Crisis Management Conference

By Dominic Cockram

CMC2013 - Final

The inaugural Crisis Management Conference was held last week to a sell out audience in London. Over 150 delegates sat down in the splendid surrounding of the Institute of Civil Engineers, just off Parliament Square in Westminster, to listen to a full day’s programme of speakers from the Cabinet Office, Unilever, BBC, CIPR, Goldman Sachs, Bank of England and University of Portsmouth.

The conference was conducted under Chatham House rules to allow for greater freedom in the presentations and discussion, but I have noted the key themes to come out of the day and share them here, for wider consideration.

  •  Capability Building  Crisis management isn’t just about the response.  It is a capability that has to be built and encompasses prevention (horizon scanning), preparation (planning, training and, above all, rehearsal), response (adaptability and flexibility) and review.
  • People  People with the right knowledge, skills and experience are central to an effective crisis management capability, but you have to ensure they are ready by training.
  • Prosperity  There is a positive correlation between crisis management, resilience and prosperity of an organisation.
  • Learning  Identifying lessons is only beneficial if they are put into practise so lessons identified become lessons learned.
  • Values  An organisation’s values should guide its response to a crisis as much as they guide day-to-day business.
  • Reputation  Building your reputation capital before a crisis is as important as communicating well during a crisis.

At the end of the conference sessions, an open forum was held with members of the BS11200 Crisis Management Standards committee, to encourage discourse from the floor about the British Standard in development.  A fascinating range of questions and opinions were shared and the panel left with more clarity as to what people wish to see in the Standard.

A more detailed report has been produced on the themes and lessons that came out of the day which can be found on the Conference page here.

The conference has established that there is strong interest in sharing knowledge about crisis management and encouraging debate and we are already planning another event for Spring 2014.

Finally,thanks must go to all the team here at Steelhenge for making it such a well organised day!

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To see the full programme and to register for the Crisis Management Conference 2014 please click here!