There is a quote from Blackadder which sort of sums up how many people are feeling as we live through a world impacted by the Covid19 virus.
“This is a crisis. A large crisis. In fact, if you’ve got a moment, it's a twelve-storey crisis with a magnificent entrance hall, carpeting throughout, 24-hour portage, and an enormous sign on the roof, saying 'This Is a Large Crisis'. A large crisis requires a large plan. Get me two pencils and a pair of underpants”.
Covid19 is a large crisis and you may decide to follow Black Adder’s advice but I’d argue you’d be better off with a large plan than 2 pencils up your nose and your underpants on your head!
It is essential every one of us has a plan of how we will survive and recover from this crisis. If you don’t have this plan already, here are some ideas to help you design your very own crisis management roadmap.
Here is how you get started.
The first thing you need to do is not panic and calmly carry out a risk assessment for your business. You need to identify:
A business impact analysis (BIA) is a way to quantify the potential impact of a business-disrupting crisis.
Working your way through a BIA can uncover a whole range of potential effects, including:
It can also highlight:
A BIA is an important step to make sure your business is not operating in a dark panic and is considering every angle of this threat. It can also help to make a business case to anyone who doesn’t see the value of crisis management plans.
Once you know the risks and the impact they have made or can make on your business it is time to plan to respond to these threats.
You should assemble a crisis management team even if it’s just another person this is a positive step. Responding to the impact of any crisis is no fun on your own.
Ideally this team should include individuals from multiple disciplines within your business to develop your crisis management plan. Sales, financial and marketing people, often have differing viewpoints, yet a compromise resulting from these differing opinions can and should be represented in the final plan.
Your BIA should help you identify an effective contingency for every risk your business faces or at least a course of action you can take.
Once you have these, write them down, allocate ownership and set a timescale for completion.
For certain risks, you may also need input and support from outside parties, such as contractors and partners that work closely with your business.
As you work your way through the plan, keep in mind any relevant regulatory requirements, and determine how you will continue to meet them, even in the midst of a crisis.
Plans that fail or lie in a drawer are usually those that no one understands or believes in. Your crisis plan and roadmap to success out of Covid19 needs to be a document that is read and understood by all in your business.
Everyone needs to understand their role in the plan, what is required of them and the ramifications if they fail in that responsibility.
Your Crisis action plan should be in plain English and readily available to everyone, this can help mitigate stress as you ensure everyone has the information they need and that they are trained to carry out their part in the plan.
Once your plan is written and approved and has been tested, be sure to revisit it frequently. It’s vital to keep the plan up to date, especially as employees join or leave the company, new technologies are implemented, and any other changes occur.
One final piece of advice I would give you, is not to forget your customers in this plan.
People remember and value those who kept in touch or helped them in difficult times. This is not the time to become insular, your company’s brand is directly dependent on timely communications with customers.
So talk to them in whatever medium is most suitable. Ask them how they are, stay in touch but more importantly tell them what you will do for them in this crisis.
I wish you luck in your efforts and remember no plan is perfect.
As Blackadder also said avoid the pitfalls of Olaf the King of all the Vikings,
“Who ordered 80,000 battle helmets with the horns on the inside."
John Joe McGinley Glassagh Consulting April 2020