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

ISO 22301 vs BS 25999: The Key Differences

By Isobel Nicholas


The International Standard for Business Continuity Management Systems is well and truly here, and we at Steelhenge have already started transitioning our own BCMS, and have been busy assisting clients with their ISO 22301 implementation. Below we take you on a whistle-stop tour of the headline differences between the requirements of BS 25999-2 and ISO 22301.

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Crisis Lesson #5: Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse

By Dominic Cockram

Imagine a Premier League team stepping onto the pitch without any training or practice under their belt – survival would be brief and they would get little sympathy. Staying at the top of your game needs practice and the same applies in crisis management. In an environment that is uncertain, complex, pressured and risky, why would any team not want to rehearse doing something they have potentially never done — particularly when the stakes could be their very survival?

Rehearsals need to be credible and as realistic as possible, simulating the complexity of the crisis arena by speed, pressure, uncertainty and clarity of response to survival-challenging decisions.  Simulations not only test the efficacy of plans and procedures, but also compel members of the strategic team to work with people they would otherwise not come across until a crisis hit. Talking about the 7/7 terrorist attacks on London in 2005, the head of the Anti-Terrorist Branch of the Met Police, Peter Clarke, said:

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Crisis Lesson #4 – Listening Leaders

By Dominic Cockram

Crises are stressful. They are characterised by the speed of activity and time-pressured decisions, lack of clear information, and high stakes that can mean life or death, or the survival of your business. There will be noise coming in from all sides, potentially intense media and public interest and you will often be called upon to act above and beyond your comfort zone and day-to-day responsibilities.

As a result, crisis centres are often a noisy, tense and scratchy location where no-one is actually listening to anyone else, let alone listening to the clamour beyond: from staff, the public and the media at large. Continue reading