How do you identify risks early enough, and, if they do materialize and turn into a crisis, how do you go about managing them professionally?
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Identifying and managing risks
Nobody could have possibly foreseen a crisis like the one we find ourselves in now. But there are risks that you can identify in advance. This is where a “crisis radar” might just come in handy.
Tip 1: Create a crisis radar
Where exactly are risks, that could potentially disrupt or even ruin our business, lurking? To answer this question, it can be useful to keep a close eye on the company’s environment at all times, as well as on internal developments. Where are there changes in the market environment that could have an impact on our financial situation? What new technologies could pose a challenge to our range? What sort of misconduct on the part of employees could jeopardize our positive image? Answer these sorts of questions on a systematic basis and set up a “crisis radar”.
Tip 2: Create scenarios
Bring up the “crisis radar” in your company on a regular basis, and assess what issues might be relevant. For each significant risk, come up with various scenarios, set out measures that will help you mitigate the risks, and establish how the company would respond if the risk were to materialize.
Tip 3: Set up a crisis committee and simulate crisis scenarios in-house
Set up a crisis committee and keep drilling them with crisis scenarios so that everyone is clear what their role is. This is the only way you will detect any weaknesses in your processes early on. Your crisis committee will need to meet regularly to keep updating any plans.
Tip 4: Make sure you are prepared for a crisis on a communication level as well.
- Allocate clear roles: if, despite your best efforts, a crisis still unfolds, it is important have clearly defined roles, duties and responsibilities within your company. Your main contacts should also be given proper training. It is also important to decide early on who should be in charge of internal and external communication channels. Also maintain in-house contacts so that you are familiar with how your staff works. This will help minimize the risk of encountering unauthorized persons or suspicious activities in an emergency.
- Establish clear decision-making processes in the event of a crisis, including the related consequences and recommended courses of action, for instance a communication cascade strategy. Employees should always know who to turn to in the event of a crisis, and where communication priorities lie. To-do lists, diagrams and concise lists you can use very quickly and flexibly can be a helpful tool here. Make sure everyone in your organization knows who has the final say when it comes to crisis communication. Prepare text modules in advance. You will then be able to adapt these at short notice based on the crisis at hand. When you create these modules, think of the five questions: who, what, when, where, why and how. The content must always be approved internally before you send out the modules.