The earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, caught many companies off guard in handling the aftermath. Many of my clients recognized the need to revise and strengthen their crisis management capability, in particular for natural disasters.
Many companies already have emergency plans and procedures in place in case of earthquakes, fires, or other types of calamities. The government also provides guidelines for these, particularly for SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises). I certainly recommend following these.
However, natural disasters have an impact on businesses that go beyond just dealing with safety. What should a business be doing to prepare itself to deal with the business impact of the emergency after safety has been addressed? How will a crisis impact staff, leaders, customers and competitors? How will decisions be made when leaders are not contactable? How will it impact ability to continue functioning a day, a week, a month and a year after the crisis? How will your business fare long-term? How might foreign currency exchange rates and ability to access credit impact your business? How might perceived risk of companies in your area or country change, and impact your ability to sell?
What can you do now to mitigate such risks? What is your plan should they be realized anyway?
We help our clients work through these important questions to ask when developing a robust crisis management capability that goes beyond emergency management. However, rather than simply creating a plan that goes on the shelf, we help our clients validate the plan by running simulation business games. In doing so, we can identify weakness and gaps that can be addressed.
We also help our clients develop a communications and training plan so that emergency plan can be put into effect immediately under trigger conditions.
This gives our clients peace-of-mind and confidence in their own business’s capability to overcome a disaster, but also gives confidence to their customers as well. When crisis management is integrated with strategy formulation, it provides an added layer of robustness to the businesses ultimate strategy, and helps ensure success and growth.