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Using scenario planning to build an adaptive capacity

Resilience in Action Video – Janellis and 100 Resilient Cities Global Partnership

This video highlights the importance of city-wide resilience, the role of business in building resilience and the value of a global partnership with 100 Resilient Cities.

Featuring Michael Berkowitz, CEO of 100 Resilient Cities and Natalie Botha, Managing Director of Janellis.

Watch now…

For more information on Janellis resilience capabilities:

For more information on 100 Resilient cities:

 

The Role of the Executive in a Crisis

Previously, we wrote an article on The role of the Board in a crisis and the need for clarity of expectations between the Board and the Executive, prior to a crisis occurring.

During a crisis, the role of the Board remains one of assurance and governance.  In situations where the Executive are directly impacted or implicated, the Board will need to take an active leadership role but outside of those scenarios, it is the responsibility of the Crisis Management Team to lead the crisis response.

What is the role of the Executive in a crisis?

During a crisis, the Crisis Management Team (CMT), made up of members of the Executive, will quickly form to become the strategic thinking and decision-making team for the organisation.  As soon as a crisis is declared, key actions for the Crisis Management Team include:

  • Distil and verify information received from within the organisation and externally and; clarify what is known and unknown.
  • Understand the impacts across the organisation and community.
  • Determine what strategic decisions need to be made immediately (often with incomplete information) and actions that need to be taken now and later.
  • Understand the key stakeholders impacted and develop a strategy to communicate and engage effectively with all key stakeholders (including the Board).

In preparing to respond effectively to a crisis, the Executive need to have:

  • Identified ‘catastrophic’ risks through scenario based activities.
  • An integrated response model with clarity on roles and responsibilities.
  • A capability development program that includes training and exercising.
  • Access to crisis management tools that will enable and support a response.
  • Regular reporting to the board and other key stakeholders to ensure alignment and assurance.

The Crisis Management Team, made up of key members of the Executive, are presented with significant challenges in a crisis.

The team will often be mobilised with very little notice. The incident may be uncontained or uncontrolled, putting the team in a high-stakes and high-pressure situation, with significant community and media interest.

The crisis team members need to have strong critical and creative thinking skills and; be able to made key decisions with conflicting or incomplete information, under time pressure and with intense scrutiny.

Key decisions made by the team may be reviewed at a later date and it is essential that there is evidence of clear decision making.

To support these teams for this significant role within their organisation, an on-going capability development and maintenance program needs to be in place.

Building capability through experiential learning

Scenario-based and training and the use of tools to support the crisis management team will provide assurance that the team has the capability to respond to a range of strategic, political, operational, financial and environmental threats.

Developing this capability at the most senior levels within the organisation has significant benefits outside of responding effectively to a crisis including:

  1. Building adaptive thinking capability that can be drawn upon for escalating or unknown risks that emerge.
  2. Enhanced critical and creative thinking capability that can be used during ‘business as usual’ and in responding to ‘slow burn’ or strategic risks.
  3. Uncovering blind spots by identifying risks that could lead to catastrophic events and; enhancing the identification of emerging threats to the organisation.

Janellis have been working with Executive Leadership Teams for over ten years in the specialist area of crisis management.  Many leaders have strong intuitive capabilities to respond to a crisis but the complexity of a crisis will, by its very nature, be immensely challenging.

Individual and collective thinking capabilities are put to the test and tools and training will help the teams to challenge assumptions, ask the right questions and make decision that draw upon their combined experiences.

Key steps to building and maintaining this capability include: identification of ‘catastrophic’ risks through scenario based training; an integrated response model with clarity on roles and responsibilities; access to tools that will enable an effective response; training and testing of the crisis management team and regular engagement with key stakeholders within the organisation and externally.

About Janellis

Janellis is an enterprise consulting firm working with leading organisations across many industry sectors.  Janellis helps organisations execute their strategy and are specialists in organisational resilience; risk, compliance and assurance; crisis and emergency management.

Our crisis management tools have been embedded in organisations across a number of industries in countries including Australia, Canada, China, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand and the USA.

Janellis have recently become a partner of the 100 Resilient Cities, an organisation pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation. This partnership provides our crisis management tools to member cities around the world.  The tools are particularly valuable for cities with significant risks and vulnerable communities within those cities.

Strategies to build resilience in Australia’s national critical infrastructure

Following the recent Government announcement, there is a renewed focus on the ownership and resilience of Australia’s national critical infrastructure. A joint media release with Senator The Hon George Brandis QC stated:

“With increased privatisation, supply chain arrangements being outsourced and offshored, and the shift in our international investment profile, Australia’s national critical infrastructure is more exposed than ever to sabotage, espionage and coercion.

We need to manage these risks by adopting a coordinated and strategic framework. This challenge is not something the Commonwealth can address alone”.

The diverse number of threats and the need for an ‘all hazards’ approach presents significant challenges to owners and operators of critical infrastructure. In 2006 Janellis pioneered an integrated organisational resilience framework with critical infrastructure providers and key elements of the framework continue to be embedded in industries including: aviation; banking and finance; energy; transport; water and government agencies.

Areas of focus:

  • Clarity on the role of the Executive and Board in a crisis, including their role in ensuring the organisation is prepared for an incident, emergency or crisis.
  • Scenario-based planning at the Executive and Strategic level to uncover and mitigate against ‘catastrophic’ risks the organisation may face.
  • Crisis Communications and its effective integration within the crisis emergency and incident management framework.
  • Multi-agency Emergency Management Capability Awareness Programs providing multi-faceted resilience protection for key assets.
  • The effective use of decision support tools for Emergency and Crisis Management Teams to enhance integrated critical thinking and decision making.
  • Exercise development process to facilitate scenario-based exercises that build capability, highlighting areas for improvement and provide assurance to key stakeholders.
  • Resilience reporting to provide assurance to the Executive, Board and other key stakeholders.

The ‘all hazards’ approach to building resilience is growing in awareness and acceptance due to increasingly complex and unpredictable impacts. Developing and maintaining capability is a key requirement for critical infrastructure owners and operators and; non-critical infrastructure organisations who are operating in higher risk industries.

Greater levels of assurance are being sought by key stakeholders that teams and organisations have the capability to respond and resilience reporting is being used to assess the capacity and capability for specific assets and across the enterprise.

For more information on the Critical Infrastructure Resilience Assessment and Assurance Tools or the Organisational Resilience Framework, please email Harrison Orr – Harrison.orr@janellis.com.au

Holidays have no immunity to crisis

The festive season is now upon us, and many thoughts and planning will soon be turning from work to relaxation over the Christmas period. However, organisations need to remain cognisant that these holiday periods do not provide immunity for a crisis to either develop, or impact their business.

Having had to coordinate the response to numerous emergencies and crisis over the past 30 years, (many of these occurring during the holiday period) I acknowledge that it is during these times when organisational susceptibility to crisis events are amplified for a myriad of reasons, such as;

  • limited staff onsite
  • unavailability of staff to respond
  • decreased monitoring of risks
  • volatility of severe weather events (flooding, storms, fires).

If I were to provide a Christmas Wish List with just 6 key actions for organisations to implement to enhance their emergency and crisis preparedness and readiness for this festive period, and indeed ongoing readiness, they would be:

1. Awareness of Escalation Triggers:

Ensure that you will receive notification of an impending or actual crisis event. Confirm that those managers and senior staff who will either be remaining at work, or monitoring your business threats, are fully aware of what your agreed organisational incident, emergency and crisis management triggers are, and importantly, the requirement to escalate this to the Crisis Management Team.

2. Crisis Management Team (CMT) availability:

Ensure that you will be able to contact all the members of the CMT if a crisis is declared. Pre-plan and identify those members that will be available, and those that will not. Holiday periods with reduced staff is a good time to maximise your crisis management capability development and capacity by ‘standing up’ some of the alternate CMT members if required.

3. Accessible Crisis Management Tools:

Ensure that all the members of the CMT still remember where, and how to access the crisis management tools. Confirm that all the CMT members have access to, and know how to utilise the tools if required.

4. Updated Key Stakeholder contacts:

Ensure that previously identified key stakeholders, both internal and external to the organisation, will be contactable over the holiday period.  Seek clarification before the holiday break on what contacts will be available over this time and document and share this information.

5. Clarity of Key Stakeholder expectations:

Ensure that your CEO, Board and Regulators have the same expectations of the CMT during these holidays as they would during a normal business day. Seek clarity and confirmation on issues such as ‘when do they want to be contacted’, ‘how do they want to be contacted’, ‘for what reasons do they want to be contacted’. This can be a decisive readiness initiative that will protect reputations and brands.

6. Crisis Control Room Operational Readiness:

Ensure that if you are called in during these holidays, to coordinate a crisis response, that the designated Crisis Control Room is in a state of Operational Readiness. Seek assurance by conducting an operational readiness check of the facility to ensure the technology and supporting equipment is working, before the holidays begin.

If you require any additional crisis and emergency capability readiness assurance, now is the time to act.

Wishing every organisation, a very merry, safe and prosperous Christmas, and most importantly, emergency and crisis free!