Risk & Crisis Management
Failing to prepare, is preparing to fail.
We help C-suite executives, boards, and regulated decision-makers identify, interpret, and prepare for risks that can impact business as usual:
1) RISK ASSESSMENT
We consider your enterprise's risk from an integrated perspective, exploring risk relationships within your organization to create a more sophisticated understanding of your company’s material risks, all probability and impact weighted.
Drawing on in-depth industry experience, macro trends, horizon-scanning techniques, and advanced risk sensing tools for identifying the signals of change, we can help you discover, interpret, prepare, and capitalize on strategic risks.
Instilling a risk-based culture is crucial to being ready in practice. We work with you to enhance governance, leadership, systems, processes or policies:
1) COBRA GROUP
Having a cross-functional leadership team that can respond quickly by taking effective decisions and coordinate responses is central to any world-class crisis management approach. We design and support the set-up of your own COBRA committee.
We support your readiness by helping you practice crisis response in a safe environment, using realistic and engaging scenarios, that pressure test your leadership decision-making, internal communications, media management and operational plans.
When a crisis strikes, we help you understand, control and de-escalate to turn expensive challenges into areas of opportunity to seize competitive advantage:
When risk management efforts fail, organizations go into “crisis mode”, characterized by short decision time, complexity, and ambiguity. We can mobilize rapidly to support you to first contain, then minimize damage, and finally control the situation.
Brand identity is one of your most valuable assets; one it has taken years to build but days to lose. We help you get ahead of the narrative and authentically bring your values to external and internal comms to quickly protect your industry position.
Once the crisis is no longer an immediate focal point a company we can help you repair any damage, and learn lessons from the experience:
When the crisis subsides, the risk is over and business is resuming as usual, but some resources need to be focused on recovering from the crisis and rebuilding trust and credibility with customers, employees, board and shareholders.
A crisis should be a learning experience, and the crisis management efforts should be evaluated to see what is working and what needs improvement. We can help you do this using a crisis evaluation team, to recommend changes in crisis procedures.
OUR ACCELERATED CRISIS MANAGEMENT APPROACH
PROGRAMS: RESILIENCE & RESPONSIVENESS
Get over it... your business is never going to be completely immune to cyber-security attacks, natural disasters, crime, incompetence, employee malevolence, macro-economics or just plain bad luck. So yes, evaluate and plan for risks, but ultimately you should concentrate on building an organization that is resilient and responsive. You cannot always expect the unexpected, but you can learn how to respond quickly, recover and maintain operations:
Speed of response – In an emergency addressing challenges in the first ‘golden hours’ increases the likelihood of success significantly. But that can only happen if you have a...
Robust plan – Noah built the Ark before the rains came, but sometimes there is an earthquake, not a flood. Plan, plan, prioritize, replan, reprioritize and then also plan to fail...
Flexible by design – Crisis will almost certainly occur at inconvenient times and places, and not be something you have seen before.
Accessible resources – A crisis is not the time to be ‘penny-wise and pound-foolish’. The reality is your own insurance is not likely to help you with short-term cashflow demands.
Excellent communications – Whole books are written on this subject; indeed many companies exist that *just* do this. Bring in PR experts here as likely your team isn't experienced in a crisis.
People, people, people – Great leadership, true teamwork, and compassionate communications all need to come together and have one thing in common... your people.
PEOPLE & PACE: *THE* CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS
Mike Tyson said it best ‘Everybody has a plan until they get hit in the face. Then they stop in fear and freeze’. So why do some organizations come out of a crisis with an enhanced reputation while others may not even survive as a business? While the reasons for failing are many and varied, we believe the situation frequently comes down to three fundamental people-related challenges:
Failure to consider the human factor fast enough
Failure to speed-up your leadership and team working style
Failure to act with compassion and authenticity
1. Recognize that you are your own worst problem. Too often in preparing for a crisis, organizations ignore the human factor. Understanding human nature is one of the fundamental keys to crisis management, and specifically how different people react differently before, during and after a crisis. For example, you need to consider that:
Generally, people understand risks intellectually but viscerally do not believe it will actually happen to them.
When confronted with a crisis, a person’s first reaction is denial, and so the leader and team often hesitate as they do not recognize that a crisis is occurring.
The human tendency to normalize means organizations often see what they expect to see rather than what is actually occurring even if it is obvious after the fact.
2. Recognize what works in peace-time, doesn't necessarily work in war-time. The second challenge that people experience when confronted with a crisis is the tendency to act in the same way they do day-to-day. Ironically often it is exactly that behavior that got them into the crisis in the first place. In a crisis time speeds up, information is more ambiguous and incomplete, and decisions are harder:
Gathering and handling information is the life-blood of crisis, and getting the balance right between corroboration of hypothesis and calculating what could happen next is key.
Some people are more mentally adept at managing through times of uncertainty, and it is them whom you want to be dedicated to the crisis while other people focus on business-as-usual.
Realistic preparation and practice decrease people’s stress levels during a tough, sustained period of crisis and increases their physical and emotional energy in order to keep performing.
Speed is essential, particularly in crisis communications. You may have only minutes to get your story out, so being a naturally fast (but considered) decision-maker is critical.
3. Recognize you cannot fool the collective wisdom-of-the-internet. So you have planned well, recognized your crisis, overcome your natural denial, moved through deliberation and into action. Great, and in most cases, the quicker you are seen to act and to provide information on the crisis and your actions, the more likely you are to mitigate the effects of the crisis. True unless that is you try to be too smart and overly 'PR spin' the situation:
Even if it’s just acknowledging that a crisis has occurred and that you are assessing the situation, it is critical that the public, your employees, and your shareholders hear from you.
Make sure the facts you share are actually facts, as the wrong information can be more harmful to you and others than no information.
Demonstrating empathy with anyone affected by the crisis, and, above all, being honest can go a long way to countering the negative effects of a crisis.
We ACCELERATE crisis management effectiveness
A people-centric approach to crisis management that is data-driven is at the heart of our innovative approach. Address the human factors in leadership, teamwork and communications and the successful management of situations naturally follows.