1. Already in a declared emergency, incident or crisis?
Business leaders who are already in a declared crisis can use the 7-step process below.
The process is used by organisations in critical infrastructure industries including; aviation, banking and finance, energy, insurance, transport and water. It is designed to:
- Enable team-based critical thinking
- Drive actions and outcomes
- Enable an adaptive capacity to deal with changing circumstances
- Provide assurance to key stakeholders
The value of using the 7-steps is that provides rigor in the decision making and allows everyone in the team to go at the same pace through ‘critical decision points’ and to develop contingency plans.
Step 1 – Determine if the ‘situation’ is internal or external. External may be a Government directive, internal may be supply chain issues.
Step 2 –Ensure the right people are in the room with a cross-section of experience from across the business, to fully understand the impacts. Bring specialist expertise in if you need to. IE: COVID-19 specific expertise.
Step 3 – The team need to separate out the facts and assumptions. Internal facts related to the current impacts need to be provided to the team and external facts need to come from trusted sources and include Government directives. The team may receive written or verbal briefings on the facts and communication should be succinct and without ambiguity.
Assumptions need to be captured as they may be used to inform decision making if information is incomplete.
Before going onto the next step the team need to reach consensus on the ‘main issue’.
Step 4 – The team should consider most likely, best-case and worst-case outcomes and be prepared for a range of potential scenarios.
Step 5 – The most likely and worst-case scenarios need to be considered across a range of impact areas specific to the organisation including: people; operations; supply-chain; strategy; financial, reputation etc. This should be done exhaustively to manage all risks.
Step 6 – This step is the opportunity to distil the information into an agreed list of actions to be completed now and later and this helps the team to prioritise.
Step 7 – The final step is the communications strategy which should consider all stakeholder groups, internal and external and the best ways to communicate.
Following these steps gives the team a ‘common operating picture’ from where they can make decisions.
The output of this process should be a Situation Report (Sitrep) which should underpin the overall communications response strategy.
If there is insufficient data from across the business to inform decision-making, other teams may need to meet and follow this process. Teams can meet hourly, daily or weekly depending on the situation. Teams should all use the Sitrep process to share information within the organisation.
Communicating well, even if the news is not ideal, can provide assurance and build confidence.