My September 19th blog post introduced the 12 Principles of Crisis Management. I wrote that I would be adding information on each of the 12 P’s. This post addresses the first area – Effective Crisis Management Organization.
There are three key areas here. The first is to set the corporate mind think. This happens from the top down. The CEO must be involved, and the organization must resource and exercise crisis management plans with the expectation that one day they will be used. For example it means conducting no notice exercises, and doing so on weekends or holidays, when they are not expected. No crisis I have ever been to occurred when expected or convenient.
Secondly, it means writing plans and organizing for response based on functional tasks that need to be accomplished. Some organizations write plans for different types of events, such as loss of an aircraft at a particular airport. While the type of event or cause of the event may be different, the consequences are not. So think consequence management.
Thirdly it means establishing, training and equipping your people to respond to and manage the crisis. Many organizations call this a “go team”. I stay away from that term because it is too general and means different things to different people. Clarity and simplicity are hallmarks of effective crisis management and response. Organizing in a functional manner allows the organization to scale the response, activating and deploying only those teams needed to manage the event.
The first two functional response areas to consider:
Crisis Management Center Team – some organizations also call this the Emergency Operations Center Team This team should be located in corporate headquarters. The CMC is manned by local staff and includes corporate skill sets such as: leadership, crisis manager, public relations, logistics, human resources, finance, legal, partners representatives, information technology and administrative support.
The CMC sets the tone and manages the incident until the leadership and functional teams can deploy to the incident location. After on-scene management is established, the CMC falls into a support roll. It then focuses on business continuity: managing the impact of the crisis on the day-to-day business of the company. Team equipment includes, fixed desks, signage, routine office supplies, computers, data collection and sharing platform, and communications equipment.
Incident Management Center Team – Incidents are managed from the area of the incident, not the headquarters. The IMC is often located in a hotel or rented office space in close proximately to the incident. For multiple incidents, multiple IMCs may be established. IMCs are manned by deployed staff and include leadership, logistics, finance, legal and communications. Once on scene and established this team takes control and is responsible for managing the event, they receive support from the Crisis Management Center. Team equipment includes typical office supplies, computers, data collection and sharing platform, and communication equipment.
In Part 2, I’ll take a look at the rest of the functional response areas to consider.