Organizations must be prepared for crises of all types. This can be facilitated through an interactive training seminar.
STRATEGIC CRISIS PLANNING
Howard Harris, EdD and Mayer Nudell, CSC
Organizations must be able to deal effectively with a crisis when one occurs—not
easy to accomplish because of the destruction, confusion, and changing circumstances
created by the event. Most everyone remembers Hurricane Katrina and the more recent
BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Both events turned into disastrous response and
recovery efforts. But a disastrous crisis event can be dealt with more effectively when an
organization has an all-hazard crisis response and recovery plan. The discussion that
follows advocates developing a strategic planning strategy prior to developing the
organization’s crisis response and recovery plan. This task can be accomplished through
a structured interactive seminar experience.
One will know when a hurricane is on the way, but a car bomb explosion in the
garage of an office building can happen with little or no warning. It is important for the
organization to be prepared to deal with events in a way that secures organizational
property, saves lives, protects organizational assets, preserves evidence, and maintains
organizational continuity during the recovery period. The first step in developing a
strategic crisis response and recovery plan is to create a strategic crisis planning
strategy. The second step is to implement the strategic crisis planning strategy by
developing and testing the organization’s strategic crisis response and recovery plan. The
only other alternative to this two-step planning approach is not being prepared—a
dangerous mistake with serious and adverse consequences.
Deciding how one’s organization needs to plan for a potential crisis event is an
important executive responsibility. Often, executives will have little or no experience in
crisis planning, so the type of training taken can have a significant impact on future
planning success. Finding the right training course or seminar to match an organization’s
planning needs is an important decision.
The Strategic Crisis Strategy Seminar (SCSS) is a unique two-day training
session. Its purpose is to provide participants with an opportunity to create a strategic
crisis planning strategy that will become a crisis plan to increase their organization’s
capability to respond to and recover from a crisis event. The SCSS emphasizes the many
commonalities of crisis planning and allows SCSS participants to create a strategic crisis
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response strategy. After returning to their organizations, they can start developing their
organizational-specific and long-term strategic crisis response and recovery plans,
reflecting the importance of operational continuity before, during, and after a crisis event,
as depicted in the Risk Management Cycle.
Developing a strategic crisis planning strategy first is very different from many of
the current emergency planning courses that offer either traditional contingency planning
activities for specific events or a general fill in the-blanks planning model that often does
not match an organization’s specific planning needs. Both of these approaches can result
in a waste of company time and money with little or no return on the financial
investment. The two-day SCSS experience is more interactive and more challenging than
most traditional planning courses or workshops and is based on a traditional approach to
instructional design, with an emphasis is on concept attainment.
Corporate-wide training and exercising are both critical and practical aspects of
corporate-wide preparedness. Training and exercise activities must be scheduled
periodically at corporate and operating company levels. The only way a plan can be
tested, other than during a crisis event, is by conducting crisis response and business
continuity exercises. Preparedness increases the probability of an effective response. The
SCSS can help your organization cost-effectively do this.