Operational Sustainability During a Crisis

When a crisis hits your business there are many issues that need to be addressed simultaneously and rationally during what could be an emotionally charged time. Decisions have to be made regarding immediate and appropriate response to the event, be it an executive kidnapping, natural or man-made disaster, catastrophic accident, product integrity scandal, labor dispute, financial meltdown, or other such crisis. However, there also has to be a concern for continuing operation of the business. You cannot just shutdown until the difficulties pass. Decisions have to reflect critical corporate responsibility regarding:

The company’s level of crisis preparedness
Compassion and help for anyone injured or worse
Effective media relations
Effective employee, shareholder and public communication
Thorough investigation and analysis of the facts of the event
Fiscal, employer, social and legal requirements
Measured and effective crisis response
Safeguards for ongoing operations
Determining the reasonable level for business continuity
And most importantly — just doing the right thing!

The Crisis Management Team has to be armed with a good emergency response playbook, a rehearsed and unified communication approach, and the discipline to adhere to established company values. The components of crisis management plans have often been so focused on reactions to the event, they sometimes overlook that the business must survive and continue to maintain client/customer satisfaction throughout the crisis. Shareholder confidence cannot be shaken for long. Third party assistance, procedural and production modifications, management flexibility, operational creativity, and some proportional spending will be just a few of the adaptations required. Having a structured business continuity plan will be critical in guiding the company through recovery. Taking into account that there may be some brief period of operational shutdown, shareholders will soon want to know that the business is back to functioning somewhat normally.

Check out some of our Crisis Management and Business Continuity Planning courses on our online training website www.imac-training.com.