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

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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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

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!

2012: A Crisis Manager’s Reflections

Dominic Cockram SteelhengeBy Dominic Cockram

As I look back over the year and reflect on crisis management and crisis communications, I have come to a resounding, and somewhat worrying conclusion: it remains remarkable how infrequently people and organisations learn from their mistakes and how few organisations are sufficiently prepared for when things go wrong.

It remains, to my mind, very apparent that many major corporations are simply still not taking preparation for a crisis seriously – or if they are, they are then ignoring what’s been learned and “winging it”.  When you watch how they manage the response both in terms of handling the media and communications, and of the management of the crisis itself, it stands out a mile if an organisation has got good procedures in place and staff have undergone training.

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