The secret to crisis resiliency is preparedness. Taking time in advance to examine potential issues and craft a crisis plan is critical to a quick response once the real thing hits. Here is a checklist to help you hone your plan to successfully navigate any crisis – and emerge stronger and healthier than ever.
Do you have a crisis response plan?
Simply going through the process of thinking through the issues and constructing a plan of response can give you an invaluable head start in dealing with any crisis.
Is your plan flexible enough to deal with a variety of crisis conditions?
The most effective crisis plans are adaptable and holistic instead of tied to a few specific scenarios. Don’t get paralyzed by trying to account for every eventuality. That would be impossible. Preparedness is about laying the groundwork – the people, processes, and systems – to help you quickly jump into action.
Have you assessed your plan for what’s working and what isn’t – and have you taken steps to shore up your weaknesses?
Take stock of your current crisis plan and what worked and what didn’t. Note any deficiencies now while they’re still fresh so you can make changes for the next crisis. Learn from your mistakes.
Do you regularly and holistically review potential risks?
Look beyond the familiar and consider everything – even those risks you think are well outside the realm of possibility. The pandemic is a perfect example of a risk that experts repeatedly warned about, but few listened because nothing on that scale has transpired within the current collective memory. You don’t want to be blindsided when something happens that you should have known about.
Have you evaluated the people, systems, and data that are essential to respond quickly to a crisis?
What information do you need to confidently make decisions under pressure? Who needs to be involved in those decisions? What red tape can you eliminate to speed your response? Get everything you need in place now, and it will be ready to go when you need it.
Have you identified your crisis response team?
Assemble a cross-functional group – including risk management, legal, IT, and HR. And don’t forget to get board-level and C-suite support. Efficient coordination, communication, and decision-making is critical in a crisis.
Have you defined roles and responsibilities for each team member?
Every member of the team should know who is accountable for what and how information will flow among the team. The person responsible for each task is much less important than the fact that all responsibilities have been identified and assigned.
Have you designated a leader for the crisis response team?
The best crisis leaders are calm under pressure and have an inclusive style with the ability to seek counsel from others. They know when to step back and let others take the lead – while keeping everyone focused and on track.
Have you conducted simulation activities to test your crisis plan?
The only way to know if your crisis plan will perform under pressure is to put it to the test. Run simulation exercises that include everyone who would be involved in the real thing – including C-suite and board members.
Do you have a process to continually assess and adjust your business continuity and crisis response plans?
Successful crisis management is a journey, not a destination. It is a continuum of activities to assess, adjust, and reassess risks, the environment, and your plan of response.
If the pandemic caught you off-guard, don’t let take that chance again. The time to start managing a crisis is before it happens. That time is now.
Find out how prepared you are for the next crisis with this 2-minute assessment.
For more on recovering from crisis with resiliency, check out our e-book, Life After Lockdown: A Playbook for Crisis Recovery, Resiliency, and Restarting Right, and all of our crisis preparedness resources here.