You should develop this as a story op for the Press.
New Massey University research shows that while a high proportion of business owners have experienced a major crisis, there's still a high degree of business vulnerability. Even more disturbing, there's a lack of formal crisis and business continuity planning. There's also a high degree of variability in adaptive capability.
Predictably, of the 43 percent which had experienced a crisis in the past five years, 79 percent were in Canterbury and 39 percent in other parts of the country.
The very nature of crises means they are unexpected. They can be natural disasters, economic, key personnel loss (CEO and senior management team lost in an aircrash as happened to NZ Crop & Food), criminal actions of staff, IT (information hacked), or physical such as fire. And as News of the World and the Murdochs can testify, reputational crisis can bowl along at the most inconvenient times if you're not careful.
Business continuity is reliant on plants getting under way again, ensuring you have premises, that your IT systems are all backed up off site (and preferably out of region) and you have generators to keep power going. All of this is critical.But, one thing that is often overlooked is the element that is core to managing a crisis - communication.
Crisis communication is often thought of as letting those who need to know, what your crisis management plan is. That's just the start.
Crisis communication is about your response during the crisis, and planning for that response beforehand.
This means having your spokespeople prepared and able to front media. But it's not just about media and PR - your customers, suppliers, shareholders and other interested parties should all on an up-to-date, accessible database with all contact details (not just work). Your staff details are up to date (and their next of kin). You know who needs to know what and when. (This is what a fellow crisis manager says about what not to do in crisis communication)
But when it comes down to it, it is all about practice. The Massey research suggests "it is experience and learning in dealing with the consequences of a crisis which is important, rather than the formality of the planning process."
Now, it's a lot to ask that you risk losing your business to a crisis for the want of planning for a crisis. I don't mean a book that's stored away somewhere. I mean a plan that is practiced in real time through a wide variety of possibilities. Learning on the day is not good business - after all, you test your products before release don't you? You run trials and understand all the wrinkles. It's the same for a crisis plan.
What do you think? Is crisis planning over-rated? How probable do you think it is that your company will face a crisis? And what will you do if it does? Do you have a crisis plan?