Most modern companies will have an issues or crises plan of some kind. Years of watching the unexpected happen to other companies, has motivated most organisations to put plans in order to some level.

But how many crises plans cover pandemic? In selecting crises to prepare for, most organisations develop a detailed list of what could go wrong and then weight each scenario against the potential impact on the organisation and the likelihood it could actually happen. Whilst a pandemic rates high on the impact, it would usually rate very low on likelihood, and most likely be excluded from most crises plans.

Yet two months ago there we all were, scurrying to add an extra chapter to the issues and crises plan.

If there is one good thing to take away from a crisis, it is the learnings. And those learnings are best captured now while they are happening and fresh in our memory.

So here are a few things to consider:

  • How are your senior people reacting? Leaders will naturally emerge in a crisis so now is a good time to see who is stepping up in your organisation. COVID-19 is a long-haul issue so those that are going well over time are good candidates for your Crisis Management Team.
  • Does your technology stack up? It doesn’t take a pandemic to need technology from remote places so if it isn’t coping, it’s time to upgrade or expand.
  • Can everybody work from home at the same productivity level. It’s a good time to workshop what could make that work better.
  • Were your stakeholder lists adequate when you needed to let people know quickly that you were changing the way you operate?
  • How quickly are you able to get your messaging out to stakeholders. If waiting for approval from an international head office has slowed you down, start to negotiate local situational approval processes.
  • How strong is your brand? Are customers staying with you? Will they come back to you? Brands are built over time and brands with a lot of trust in the bank do well in crisis.

No crises plan can cover every aspect of every scenario. There are always things you can’t predict. But nothing beats documenting the real thing.

Time to update the issues and crises plan!