Waiting until a crisis hits is too late. Monitoring, preparation, and rehearsal are the most effective ways to prepare for a catastrophic event. Businesses need to have an impact analysis done regularly to help determine priority areas in the event of a disaster. Besides, organisations that regularly plan and rehearse potential crisis scenarios significantly improve their ability to respond effectively when a real crisis hits.

Every decision during a crisis can affect stakeholder value. Threats to an organisation’s reputation can destroy value much more rapidly than operational risks. In today’s world, technology and social media have dramatically increased the visibility of crises, which can lead to even greater reputational risk.

Response times should be in minutes, not hours or days. When a real crisis emerges, a traditional business continuity plan may be insufficient, especially if it has not been tested.

To mitigate the risks, your crisis management team must take control quickly, lead decisively, communicate fluently, and inspire confidence in everyone both inside and outside your organisation. Expansive thinking and innovative approaches to solving problems are needed. Playbooks to address ‘common’ catastrophes are a critical starting point at these times.

You can emerge stronger. A crisis can be an opportunity, not just a threat, to the business. Almost every crisis creates opportunities for organisations to rebound. However, you must be looking for them and be able to recognise and act effectively on them swiftly.

Just when you think a crisis is over, it is not. The work continues long after you breathe a sigh of relief. The way you lead your teams/people, capture and manage data, log decisions, manage finances, handle insurance claims, and meet legal and regulatory requirements on the road back to normal can determine the strength of recovery.

Are you prepared?

Indeed, there are unique elements to every crisis, but having a systematised approach is vital. An organisation must be prepared to navigate the entire lifecycle of a crisis, from readiness to response to recovery.

Because the crisis is unpredictable in the magnitude of chaos and distress that it can cost organisations, executives need a documented crisis management plan in addition to their more conventional risk management strategies.

Contributed by Alexandra Simonova, Director at Deloitte’s practice in the Cayman Islands.

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