Here we are – roughly half-way through this rapid and rather random fly-past of the anatomy of a crisis and how one might plan for same. This is part five which means – oh, but yes, dearest blog snorkellers – another five to go! I promise – on all that I hold sacred, on Roget’s Thesaurus – that the next bits (well, the ones after this) will be more exciting. And practical.
Anyway – this is just a summary of where we find ourselves, and how you might consolidate the work that you’ve done. I’m not going to insult you, so I’ll keep it brief. In no particular order:
1) Write everything you’ve discovered to date down. This may be stating the obvious, but the obvious is what you’re going to want when the merde hits the aircon. Writing things down allows you to demonstrate to others that things have been thought about and – often more importantly – remind them that they were there when the thinking was going on. (Did I mention that crises are noted for their internal political aspect? No? They are.) All that aside, by now you’ve got lists of potential issues and crises, contingency planning for the more likely or the more serious, statements and Q&A, escalation procedures, rotas and contact lists, places to go and schedules of equipment that you’re going to need. Writing it down will explain to others, and you (at 0500 on a Wednesday, when your memory’s not working), how it all links together
2) Get examples of all the stuff you’ve put together so far. Put each item in a different plastic folder, label it as an appendix and attach it to the beginnings of a plan you’ve just written down (see point 1). I know, I know – I’m insulting your intelligence. Or am I? Don’t hide this stuff away – everyone who might be involved in a crisis situation should have a copy of it. Whether they like it or not
3) Store all of this electronically. If you can, if your IT department will let you, if your company is technologically literate enough, if there are enough people able to access it from outside the company – get it all on a server somewhere (possibly password protected) so that those that need to access it when the time comes, actually can
4) Brief your people. You’ve done quite a lot of work at this stage, and the stuff you’ve been working on – although all a bit navelly-gazely at times – is very important. We’ll get on to internal comms later, but now is the time to do some briefing of your staff. Not everyone needs to know everything, but it doesn’t do anyone – especially in an organisation that might not, how shall we say, have the most robust and open and values-led culture – any harm to be splashed with the fear of God every now and then
Now we’re cooking with gas. One thing I completely forgot to mention specifically, but who knows, you may have got there before me, is the list of the emergency services and the local authorities that you would do well to have in your folder when the time comes.
Next time, we’ll explore what to expect when a crisis actually happens, The we’ll get to internal comms, business continuity, social media and running a trial of your plan.
And until then – keeeeeep panicking!