Don’t Panic: Be Prepared

Preparing for the next crisis (or the next phase of the current crisis)1

Covid-19 is not a one-off challenge. We should expect additional phases to the current epidemic and additional epidemics in the future. Research on the effectiveness of the organizational response to dynamic crises indicates that there is one variable that is most predictive of eventual success – preparation and preemption. Preparing for the next crisis (or the next phase of the current crisis) now is likely to be much more effective than an ad- hoc, reactive response when the crisis hits.1

The three key elements of crisis management preparation.

An expert on crisis management would tell you that three key elements must be in place to be prepared for and handle a crisis.  First and foremost, you must have a plan for how to handle the incident!  For most people this is obvious and nothing more than common sense.  The second is that the plan must be known to all employees.  When a crisis occurs, and rest assured it will, everyone must know what to do and what not to do.  The third aspect is that the plan must be updated and readily available to all employees irrespective of their whereabouts.  If this is all common sense, which it is, then why is it a challenge to be prepared to handle a crisis or incident?

Establish your crisis management plan (in a software solution) to secure seamless information flow and collaboration across the organization.

COVID19 pandemic is a crisis that affects the entire society.  Handling of the Pandemic calls for physical isolation, with a simultaneous need for efficient coordination and communication.  The latter has become increasingly important as the authenticity of Information has become a longstanding issue affecting businesses and society. On social networks, the reach and effects of information spread occur at such a fast pace and so amplified that distorted, inaccurate or false information acquires a tremendous potential to cause real-world impacts, within minutes, for millions of users2.  Your approach to mitigate the information challenge will govern your organization’s ability to handle any crisis or incident.

During an incident, emergency or a crisis, the most important asset is to have accurate, confirmed information available. IntraPoint solution for digitizing your plan for handling a crisis or emergency, Crisis Manager, removes organizational and geographic barriers.  The solution has functionality for approving information before release and ensures that information flows seamlessly throughout the response- and recovery periods.  Authorized users have structured visibility to information, a real-time view of the situation to make better strategic and tactical decisions in the shortest timeframe, and the ability to communicate information and decisions to all required participants, stakeholders, and appropriate governing bodies, as required.

Exercise, exercise, exercise.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ~ Benjamin Franklin.

The Establishment of your emergency response plan in a software solution provides you with the tools and means to handle a crisis.  But unless you practice the plan you will fail in the handling of an actual crisis.

There are several industries and national institutions with a demonstrated ability for crisis management.  The Oil and Gas industry and the army serve as good examples.  The Oil & Gas industry and the army have one vital aspect in common, both spend significant resources on training, drills, and exercises.

Most businesses neither have the capacity nor the need to implement an extensive exercise regime, but every organization must have a toolbox that allows for regular relevant training.  The toolbox should minimum include two items, a crisis management software solution that can be set in exercise mode and training scenarios relevant for your business.

Crisis Manager from IntraPoint in exercise mode allows the organization to train and practice in the environment that will be used for handling of an actual crisis.

The Crisis Manager solution alone will not secure relevant training; you also need to build or have access to relevant exercise scenarios.  With a partner, we can provide a digital solution for scenario building based on specific requirements and key characteristics of your business.

Continuous Improvement is Key to Success

Think about it, if you create an emergency response plan and then leave it as it is for month after month, year after year, not only will the plan be unknown to the organization, but when the plan is required it will be difficult to locate and completely outdated.  A living digital plan represents the best tool3.  The live digital plan serves as a single point of reference for employees and allows the organization to update its contents as new knowledge and information warrants.

As part of the IntraPoint services, we provide the competency and resources required to build the emergency response plan from scratch or work with an organization to review and update the existing emergency response plan.  The development and implementation of procedures to secure the continuous improvement of the plan is an integrated part of the service.

Key takeaways.

  • Communication and the authenticity of information is critical to crisis management
  • Collaboration across the team enables consistent response
  • You must set up your plan in a software solution
  • The software solution must support the seamless flow of approved information
  • Digitization of your emergency response plan provides the tool required for exercise and training
  • Relevant scenario building based on business characteristics is key to efficient exercise and training
  • Continuous improvement and review of the plan is Key to Success
  • Implementation of the actions above secures a living digital crisis and emergency response plan

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Works Cited

  1. “Lead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis” Harvard Business Review, by Martin Reeves , Nikolaus Lang and Philipp Carlsson-Szlezak, February 27, 2020.  Accessed 17.Mar.2020
  2. “The current state of fake news: challenges and opportunities”, Procedia Computer Science,Volume 121, 2017, Pages 817-825. Author Álvaro Figueira, Luciana Oliveira. Accessed 17.Mar 2020.
  3. “COVID-19 Don’t Panic: Prepare” Info-Tech Research Group, March 2020. Accessed 17 Mar. 2020.