Crisis Management and Business Continuity Plan

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After MH370 incidents, look at how the incident is mishandled, communication disaster and poor coordination of the search and rescue efforts. It drives me crazy. The incident surfaced the dysfunction and incompetency of the government that mainly due to poor crisis management.

As most of the people have this misconception that crisis management is about complicated tools and expensive training – as if the only way to solve complex systemic problems is with another complex system. This is totally WRONG.

Real crises CAN be solved with the simplest and most common sense strategies. They don’t cost much, because they aren’t about what you have. They’re about what you PLAN & DO!

Crises can be solved by simply changing how you look at things, evaluate risk and information, and manage the situation.

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What’s the impact if you don’t plan?

If you don’t plan and prepare, there are high costs cripple affected companies.
After a disaster…
43% of affected companies never reopen
51% of affected companies close within 2 years
75% of affected companies without business continuity plans fail within 3 years
An organization that successfully recovers from a disaster enhances its reputation for reliability and dependability.

Basic Rules in Crisis Management

Lets have a look at some of the basic rules in handling crisis (extracted from http://www.activepr.biz/blog/crisis-management/)

1.    There is no excuse for being unprepared

Ensure that you keep your crisis plan up to date and simple, this should be a live document that gets amended and changed on a yearly basis at least. Do not wait for something to happen before understanding what it is your crisis plan outlines.

2.    48 hours

These 48 hours are crunch time, if you do not communicate something within that time frame you can be sure that someone will and the information they share may be inaccurate, create the wrong perception and take months to fix and overcome. It is impossible to over communicate during a crisis.

3.    Listen and be present

You need to be aware of what people are saying, listen to your customers, acknowledge their concerns and ensure that you respond to them and treat their issues with importance. Simply dismissing an issue will not make it go away.

4.    Transparency

Trying to cover up justified but negative comments can make you look as if you are ignoring a problem or, worse off, don’t care about the customers. It is important to be honest and upfront about any issues your company may be facing. Making mistakes is human, if you have made a mistake, admit, apologise and correct.

5.    Social Media Management

Make sure you limit the number of people who have access to your social media forums to knowledgeable community managers who have the right training and experience in this field. It is also important that if your employees are on social media forums they are aware that they represent your company, and they need to maintain a certain online image that aligns with that of your company messaging and branding.

6.    Every crisis is an opportunity

In the midst of crisis, there is opportunity, yes, there is risk involved, but do not be afraid to seize the opportunity, should it arise.

If you ever find yourself in a crisis remember to take a deep breath, take one step at a time, maintain a live crisis plan with key messaging and keep open, transparent communication lines between yourself, the media and your customers.

Tool for crisis management & business continuity plan

To make you life easier, here is a free tool you can use to develop your organisation’s business continuity plan and disaster recovery plan. Let’s give it a try.  http://www.ready.gov/business-continuity-planning-suite

Training : http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/edu/busind.asp

other resources : http://managementhelp.org/crisismanagement/

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Recently a local magazine interview me on Crisis Management, here is the link to the article in Chinese. 危机乃企业常态 遵守5大程序化险为夷

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