Tag Archive for: Digital Tools

Virtual War Room

Crisis teams harness shared thinking via new digital tools

Digital technology is a powerful enabler for collaborative critical thinking particularly where teams are mobile and need to make high-stakes decisions, often with very little notice and under time pressure.

Previously we have worked with executive leadership teams to help build their capability to respond to a range of known and unknown risks that the organisation face.

As with most leadership teams we work with, they already have an impressive and diverse range of skills and experiences.  These sessions again highlighted, that leadership styles may be unique and risks between organisations varied but the majority of executive leaders already have strong critical thinking capabilities.

Some leaders demonstrate their critical thinking skills in very direct and overt ways, clearly ‘cutting through’ to identify the key issues and making strong decisions. Others do this in more collaborative and subtle ways but; the majority of executive leaders and emerging leaders have critical thinking as a core competency.

Shared critical thinking

One of the challenges facing leaders who find their organisations in a crisis ‘scenario’ or real event is that their individual and collective critical thinking skills are put to the test.

Time is a key factor and information is often incomplete and key decisions need to be made under pressure. If an event has involved the media, often there is added pressure with a high degree of mis-information as well as vital information that needs to be verified.  Teamwork and leadership are essential and success relies on all members of the team operating effectively.

Some executives move from ‘business as usual’  into ‘crisis’ mode seamlessly and are able to operate intuitively and effectively, others feel like they have “a blank sheet of paper”, not sure how to blend their own style or approach into these high pressure and usually high-stakes situations.

Tools to enable critical thinking

To enable all members of the team to be effective under pressure we coach teams using a decision support tool that facilitates ‘shared critical thinking’.

Key elements include: identifying the facts and the assumptions of a situation; evaluating the information as a team; understanding the impacts across the organisation and considering a ‘most likely’ and ‘worst’ case perspective; prioritising, making decisions and developing an effective response strategy.

The tools enable the team to challenge assumptions, to ask the right questions and to hypothesise in a unified way that draws upon their combined experiences , to develop the best possible response strategies.

Embedding critical thinking using digital technologies

Whilst the concept of shared critical thinking is not new for Janellis we have recently taken our tools on-line and are training executive teams using a digital solution.  Teams are coached using  ‘experiential’ style training and this provides clarity on what critical thinking is, how to build it and how to measure it.

crisis management digital tools - checklists

Crisis management digital tools – online checklists

Having the the tools available in a digital format allows for a more interactive, dynamic and robust exchange of ideas in ‘real time’ as new information becomes available.  The team can review their progress and produce a ‘common operating picture’ that reflects their shared understanding of the situation, its impacts across the organisation and their agreed strategies.

The value of critical thinking more broadly

As the maturity in capability builds at the executive level it becomes clear that the effectiveness of the crisis management team is very likely to be dependent on individual and shared critical thinking capabilities of others within the organisation. The tool is particularly valuable for teams where the critical thinking skills are not yet ‘honed’ but where the discipline of verifying information, understanding consequences and developing solutions is essential.

Shared critical thinking will be a challenge for any team in a crisis situation and access to the tools creates alignment, builds confidence and provides assurance to key stakeholders.

If you are interested in critical thinking, crisis management coaching for executives or the digital tools, please contact us as this is an exciting area that continues to evolve.

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CBD Response leads the way

Significant events have occurred within Sydney’s CBD Zones in recent years. They have highlighted the difficulties in moving large groups of people, the need for rapid communication and the reliance on key decisions to be made by business leaders.

If you work in the Sydney or North Sydney CBD and you are responsible for the safety of others, you have a role to play in preparing for a major emergency.

New Role for Business Leaders in CBD Emergency Management

In the event of an emergency in NSW a ‘significant and coordinated response’ will require businesses, government, critical infrastructure companies, service providers and the broader community to work together.

Organisations operating within the CBD cannot rely on emergency services agencies and building managers alone to ensure the safety of their staff and the continuity of their business.

In an emergency, business leaders may be faced with incomplete or conflicting information. The complexity of an effective response requires the most experienced and capable leaders to make decisions that could affect the safety of many people and the continuity of their business.

In order to successfully work together business leaders need to be aware of how the police, the other emergency services and the local authority will respond.

New challenges lead to a new plan and revised requirements for business

In June 2015, NSW Police published the new Sydney and North Sydney Central Business Districts Evacuation Management Subplan [Subplan]. You can view the full plan here.

The key changes to the plan are:

More than ever there is a need to ensure that organisations operating within these zones are self-reliant, that they understand the key components and concepts of the Subplan – at an executive level – and that they have exercised and tested their capability.

CBD Response helps organisations get prepared

CBD Response has translated the NSW Government’s plan specifically for businesses operating in the Sydney CBD Zones. It provides all the information and tools organisations need to get prepared and be assured on their readiness and ability to respond to a CBD-wide emergency.

It has been designed for business leaders, business response teams, property managers, building owners plus audit and risk professionals.

If you are unsure of how well aligned your capability is to these guidelines please use the Assurance Assessment Tools to check that your organisation has the ability to respond to a CBD-wide emergency.

If you work in the CBD and are not aware of your role in an emergency or the key concepts within this site we recommend you complete the Assurance Assessment for Business Leaders on that page and forward the results to the most appropriate person within your organisation.

For more information on CBD emergency management reviews and health checks please contact Janellis.