Every day companies, governments and the services of critical infrastructure are faced with situations that affect the security and safety of a multitude of stake-holder; potentially threatening the reputation and health of the company. Complicating the situation is the requirement for companies to be in compliance with frequently changing regulations and legislation.
Enhancing the resilience of our companies, government entities and that of critical infrastructure can be achieved through the strategic development and combination of security measures to address intentional and accidental incidents; business continuity practices to deal with disruptions and ensure the continuation of the essential services we enjoy and appreciate; and emergency management planning to ensure adequate response procedures are in place to deal with unforeseen disruptions and natural disasters.
Better risk management
Given the interdependencies and connectedness among companies, government and critical infrastructures, a disruption of any one of these services could have a cascading effect across essential services or systems and . A “risk management” approach refers to the continuous, proactive and systematic process to understand, manage and communicate risks, threats, vulnerabilities and interdependencies across all of these community entities. Having a strong situational awareness of the risks and interdependencies that confront your organization is the first step towards a comprehensive risk management process.
A large scale example of the need for this application was during the 1998 Ice Storm, large segments of rural and urban communities were in the dark and without heat. Traffic and street lights were out. Banking and government services were interrupted. Healthcare services were reduced to emergency and essential tasks only, retail of many consumables both large and small were closed. This was the disruption in one sector – electricity – it affected a score of others, interrupting the delivery of important services upon which many depended upon.
Taking steps to resiliency is not an easy task for any organization. It takes funding, it takes resources, it takes time. If properly conceived and then executed when needed the funding required to get keep the organization going or to get it back up and running, the resources potentially used internally and externally and the time it will take is a fraction of what it would be if you weren’t prepared.
Protect a diamond like a diamond and a pencil like a pencil.
Too many times do we see the evaluation of risk to a particular item, place, person, or process over protected. This simple philosophy will save you time and money when mitigating risk. It will eliminate confusion as to what is really important to your risk mitigation strategies.
Plan the Work. Work the Plan
For our loyal clients and for those that follow us closely you’ve noticed some changes.
We’ve grown. We’ve expanded. Our service offerings are broader yet more focused.
Which once was a single consultant organization is now a service provider that still focuses on the possibilities rather than the problems. But now has more resources and history to do it with. Instead of what is wrong, we look at what is working, we look at the strengths, and look to take advantage of the existing assets to address and manage your risks.
Our solutions are always tailor-made to each company and fit for purpose; we don’t want to solve a problem by creating a new future risk for our clients.
And we will always focus on ensuring the client achieves their objectives.
Many of our clients ask us to complete risk assessments of their operations, their physical site and even future projects. As complicated as some risk assessments can be we thought we’d take the time to break them down to their basic components.
Recognize – more commonly stated as Identify the hazards or risks. Before you really can do that, you need to know and understand the difference between what a hazard is and what a risk is. A hazard is “something” with the potential to cause you, your business, your employees, your reputation harm. A risk that “likelihood” of that harm actually happening.
Impact – more commonly known as deciding who is going to be harmed and how. Who’s going to feel it, how is it going to happen? Almost like trying to figure out whether or not it is the butler in the den with the candlestick …for those who appreciate a good game of Clue.
Bump – So you’ve recognized the hazards and risks and you’ve figured out where the impact is going to be. Now what? Now you have to protect it or at least put some form of management or control piece in to either slow it down or stop it completely from happening and affecting you.
Note it – Write it down, digitally record it, take pictures, tell a few people. Do what you need to, to record it. Why…because you want to monitor your success. You want to know that the bump you’ve put in place is working or needs to be re-recognized because the impact may have changed. It’s also due diligence. You can show that you know that there is or was something that raised whatever level of concern, you thought about it, did something about it and continue to watch it.
Recognize it again – As I’ve said many times in the past and continue to…Plan the Work Work the Plan. Once you’ve done the assessment you need to do it again. You need to understand what is working, what has changed, what is new and what are you doing about it.
This article is to serve as a high level awareness tool. Unfortunately it doesn’t remove the complexities of your operation or the complexities of the risk assessment. But boiling it down to it’s barest components allows you to understand the varying phased or steps that are taken during a risk assessment. It’s important to note and understand that each of these components can be expanded and contracted as necessary to have a myriad of steps or components within each of them.
Nevertheless it all falls back to these high level principal components.
Plan the Work. Work the Plan
So where do I put it? What do I do with it? Will it last me long enough? Do I need to get more of it? When do I need to use it? Does it go well with other things?
I’m not talking about maple syrup and whether or not you pour it over your pancakes or waffles directly or just on the side for dipping. Whether or not you put enough on your plate. Do you put it on now or wait for the butter to melt in. And yes, it goes very well with many other things.
I’m talking about your Emergency Response plans. The same questions apply.
Where do you put it? Which department is going to manage the process of creating one? Which individual or team is going to champion it to fruition? Who will maintain it? Who will test it?
What do you do with it? You learn from it. It becomes an integral part in the growth process of your organization.
Will it last? Only as long as you pay attention to it. Or in some instances only as long as you remain exposed to some risks that you may be able to avoid.
Do you need more of it? Depends on what your risk tolerance is, what your risk assessments have told you and whether or not you have the internal resources to manage it properly.
Knowing when to use it is key. Risk assessments and the intimate knowledge of the organization’s risk tolerance is a driver.
Yes, like syrup your emergency response plans go well with other things. Your Business Continuity Plans. Your Fire Safety Plans. Staff training and orientation. Strategic Plans. It can touch and influence or be influenced by many of the hands and fingers of the business.
Plan the Work. Work the Plan.
Write the emergency plans, engage your associates, checked and double checked. You put it all together.
You’ve completed a pretty in-depth risk assessment, reviewed processes, tweaked a few, distributed to all of the departments to ensure you’re all on the same page and you even got executive buy in.
That is one healthy document, make room on the shelf.
What you should have said was it’s time to exercise. Test it. Rework work it. You planned it now work it.
Sitting around is not going to cut it. In the event that you have to respond to an emergency event, would you rather work on keeping the business going or watching it go down hill?
Don’t just show up at the gym.
Do something while you’re there.
The benefits of emergency plan exercising are clear:
- You create a greater consistency to your response
- You learn to be more efficient with your resources
- There becomes an increased confidence in your associates
- You’ll build stronger relationships with your partners, vendors and community support.
You’re not the only thing that needs to stay fit…so does your business. Find the time to exercise.
Plan the Work. Work the Plan.
I’ve been here listening and responding to your phone calls, emails, engagements, attending conferences, upgrading skills, delivering speeches, volunteering my time to passionate causes. Staying energetic and informed.
Are you still energetic and informed?
All of those plans and procedures you created, are they still energetic and informed? Are all of your colleagues that will be engaged during the time of crisis, are they still energetic and informed?
You better be. It better be. They better be. Why?
The truth of the matter is that managing and experiencing a crisis is draining; emotionally, intellectually, and physically.
You and your colleagues need to be energetic about being prepared. Your documents are energetic by virtue of the time you spend on them, and the information that is current and relevant within them.
You and your colleagues need to find the formula that works for you and your organization. The ultimate goal is keeping you energized and informed, and fellow staff associates energized and informed, both in time of a crisis or not. Keep your eyes on keeping losses to a minimum, or mitigating them completely. And always keep your eye on primarily remaining safe.
Stay energized. Stay informed. Plan the Work. Work the Plan.
So how far can you get with the questions below? Do you know if you need to add a Social Media Crisis Management Plan to your list of existing plans?
You already have a set of crisis and emergency plans…you do don’t you? Of course you do. You wouldn’t operate your business without out them.
Plan the Work. Work the Plan.