Tag Archive for: Emergency Management

Leading your Organisation through Crisis

What is Organisational Resilience?

A holistic view of risk management in the context of ‘better practice’ is now viewed as ‘organisational resilience’ and is built around a framework that incorporates financial, operational and strategic risk.

A fully integrated risk model is achieved by intelligently fusing the disciplines of risk management, crisis management, emergency management, security, business continuity and other key areas.

The Janellis Resilience model incorporates four key focus areas of Risk, Readiness, Response and Assurance. The model forms the basis by which Janellis reviews and builds an organisation’s resilience capability. An effective resilience framework ensures organisations can rapidly adapt and respond to internal or external change, risks, opportunities, demands, disruptions or threats; and continue operations with limited impact to the business.

An organisation with a mature resilience capability is able to demonstrate the following:

  • Integrate strategic, operational and financial risks
  • Ensure a response capability is built against known catastrophic risks through training and exercising
  • Demonstrate high levels of confidence to respond to emerging threats
  • Embed critical thinking across the organisation
  • Align the resilience capability with key inter-dependencies
  • Regularly provide assurance to the board and other key stakeholders

About the Janellis Enterprise Resilience Framework

Developed in collaboration with leading Australian organisations operating in high risk industries both nationally and internationally, this framework is based on the International Benchmarking on Organisational Resilience.

The framework is aligned with International and Australian standards including: ISO 31000, the Australasian Inter-service Incident Management System (AIIMS), the Prevention, Preparedness, Response and Recovery (PPPR) principles, AS/NZS 5050, HB 167-2006, Security Risk Management Standard and the Australian Federal Government’s Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy for owners and operators of critical infrastructure.

Janellis has embedded key elements of the framework in leading organisations and government agencies.

RISK

– ISO 31000 is the cornerstone of the framework and requires an integrated and consistent approach to managing strategic operational and financial risks across the enterprise. In addition to traditional enterprise-wide risk management, it entails a greater focus on: the identification, management and reporting of ‘catastrophic risks’; understanding the dependencies and vulnerabilities related to critical suppliers and other third parties; the identification and management of emerging threats and using scenario-based modelling to build situational awareness and adaptability.

“The capability to respond to extreme events is an essential part of building and maintaining organisational resilience.”

 

READINESS

– The readiness components of the framework includes a more strategic approach to pre-planning for disruptions and ‘shocks’ through: the development and alignment of plans; training and awareness; implementing appropriate technology and having alternate site arrangements. Advanced readiness capabilities include: the alignment of plans with critical suppliers or external agencies; ensuring all communication mechanisms are in place to receive and distribute information; the development and use of tools including a decision-making framework and response handbook as an aide memoire.

RESPONSE

– The response components of the framework encompass the capability to respond to specific known strategic, operational or financial ‘catastrophic’ risks or emerging threats the organisation is managing. The response aspects involve a robust exercising and testing process that builds and maintains capability. An effective exercise development process will highlight vulnerabilities and identify strengths within the organisation. The response elements of the framework build crisis management leadership as well as critical thinking capabilities.

“An organisation may have exhaustive risk management processes, detailed plans and experienced individuals but; if a team comes together in a crisis and they are unable to demonstrate critical thinking capabilities, they may not be effective. Critical thinking skills developed at all levels within an organisation – and evident during BAU – is one of the leading indicators of organisational resilience.”

 

ASSURANCE

– Higher levels of assurance are being sought to ensure that organisations can effectively respond to a wide range of potential threats. Traditional governance frameworks are being improved with targeted ‘readiness’ reporting, robust post-incident reviews, benchmarking and audits. Benchmarking is used to highlight areas of capability as well as areas of vulnerability and this can be done nationally and internationally.

The internal and external audit process is a recognised and effective way to provide assurance and there is a growing requirement in the areas of risk, organisational resilience, emergency and crisis management. Whilst it may not be possible to predict or mitigate the full range of unknown risks, assurance can be provided to key stakeholders if the organisation can demonstrate: an acceptable level of pre-planning; a robust exercising program and an effective and auditable decision making process.

Download the Harvard Business Review submission containing case study examples including: NSW State Emergency Service; Qantas; Lendlease Group, Transfield Services and Westpac Banking Corporation. Or the technical version here.

Organisational resilience in the face of a severe heatwave forecast

There are serious industry concerns New South Wales could be hit with blackouts from tomorrow afternoon due to record high energy demand, as the state grapples with some of the worst heatwave conditions that NSW has ever seen over the next three days.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has issued an alert predicting a tightening balance between supply and demand with forecast electricity demand to reach around 14,700 megawatts (MW), the highest ever demanded in NSW.

The AEMO said it was working to reduce the need for so-called “load shedding events”, like the one which saw 90,000 properties lose power in Adelaide on 8 February 2017. “Load shedding could occur instantly if the demand supply balance changed rapidly.”

Blackouts could happen instantly to protect supply. The resultant consequence for critical infrastructure owner/operators and other business though, could be catastrophic, resulting in widespread business and operating disruptions.

Business Resilience Advice

The key to effective business resilience in times of severe weather forecasts, such as the one NSW is facing over the next 72 hours is not to be REACTIVE. Organisations and businesses need to be PROACTIVE. Pre posture your readiness and response arrangements and activate your incident, emergency and crisis planning before the potential business impact.

The following key readiness initiatives have been provided to assist your organisational readiness in the face of this potential severe heatwave emergency;

1.    Avoid a delayed organisational response. Ensure relevant staff and managers are aware of your internal notification and escalation triggers and processes that will activate pre determined levels of response, as and if required.

2.    Ensure you have nominated and confirmed ‘on call’ membership of your incident, emergency and crisis teams, and that relevant contact details are current and tested.

3.    Conduct an Operational Readiness Check of both your automated incident/emergency notification systems and Incident Control Centres/Rooms.

4.    Situational Awareness. Convene a team briefing (face to face or virtual) with your IMT, EMT and/or CMT to establish situational awareness of potential environmental and business risks and threats. Develop and agree upon pre response plans to mitigate potential business impacts of excessive heat conditions.

5.    Staff and customer safety is priority. Ensure staff and customer welfare plans have been established to mitigate potential adverse health effects as a result of the forecast heatwave conditions. Reference state agency health alerts and warnings.

6.    Ensure key staff are aware of established business continuity plans and what their associated roles and responsibilities within these plans are.

7.    Reduce single supply point vulnerability. Seek assurance from key critical service providers that they have enacted operational and business readiness plans to ensure business continuity.

8.    Catastrophic bushfire forecast. For those businesses that have close proximity to, or are located on the bushland urban interface, ensure you maintain situational awareness via the accessing of the NSW Rural Fire Service website and Apps.

Finally, it is a lot easier to escalate and activate early, then de-escalate if not required, rather than explain to your key stakeholders why the impact of your business disruption may have been mitigated if only you had acted early.

If you require any assistance, advice or support relating to business readiness and resilience, please have no hesitation in contacting myself on 0498 853 736.

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!