Education and Training | Crisis Management Structures

Education and training creates the conditions in which individuals and groups can successfully utilize sound BCM Plans, as well as have the confidence to step outside of established policies and plans to meet unique challenges which the BCM Plan may not have fully addressed. The following forms of education and training are available to develop and sustain the skills and capabilities of an organization's crisis leaders.

§  Formal Instruction.: Formal instruction may take the shape of a focused training course for crisis leaders on risk and security management issues, whether conducted as part of a series of modules or as a condensed package.
§  Mentoring Programs.: Mentoring programs may be formal or semiformal with experience, and trained crisis leaders mentoring less experienced team members so that crosspollination of skills and knowledge occurs.
§  Shadowing and Transitioning.: Crisis leaders may delegate or transition responsibilities over a defined period to ensure that new crisis leader incumbents have a period of indoctrination prior to fully assuming responsibilities.
§  Tabletop Exercises.: Management leadership exercises and discussions can be used to run a crisis management team, and individuals, through their paces as a low cost, high value training medium.
§  Discussion Groups.: Discussion and working groups or forums can provide a valuable medium whereby information and ideas are shared and friction points or shortfalls are identified and resolved.
§  Instructional Manuals.: Training manuals can be used (often in conjunction with other education and training mediums) to educate crisis leaders on their own role, as well as how an organization will function and respond to a crisis.
§  WebBased Training.: Webbased education and training mediums can be used to meet the needs of a dispersed crisis management team.
§  Train the Trainer.: Creating internal capability through a train the trainer scheme can improve the knowledge and capabilities of the instructor, while also creating a pyramid effect of capability within a wider group.
§  Activation Exercises.: Activation exercises can be used to determine the ability for individuals and the crisis management team to effectively respond to a crisis event. This tests both the mechanisms for activation, as well as the competence of individuals and the wider group in terms of response.
There is no miracle answer for how crisis leadership should work, nor necessarily a way of predicting, nor assessing after the event whether the individual or group leadership approach used was the most effective way of managing a particular crisis. Establishing a solid platform from which good decisions can be made should be the principle goal of companies and organizations. In addition, corporate leadership should bear in mind that it is better to make some form of decision, rather than make no decision at all in the event of a crisis—recovery is invariably preferable than inaction.

Approach Methodologies

Crisis leaders should ask themselves “so what” when dealing with a crisis, taking each question and answer related to the crisis event to its natural conclusion. The “so what” principle will create multiple lines of consideration, with multiple subsets. Each line of consideration should be closed with an action point or decision. For example: An employee has been reported as involved in a car accident in Lagos Nigeria: the immediate lines of consideration may include:

§  Add a note hereWhen.: When did the accident occur.
§  Add a note hereWhere.: Where did the accident occur.
§  Add a note hereWhat.: What happened.
§  Add a note hereWhy.: Why did it happen.
§  Add a note hereWho.: Who was involved.
§  Add a note hereSupport.: What needs to be done and what support is needed.
§  Add a note hereManagement.: Who is taking charge of the event.
§  Add a note hereRisks.: What existing and new risks might be associated with the event.
§  Add a note hereImpacts.: What impacts, current and future are associated with the event.
Add a note hereFollowing a logical structure of gathering information and making effective decisions crisis leaders may adopt the “so what” approach to determine action points and decisions. So answers will provide answers to other questions and so duplication can be easily avoided. For example:

1.  Add a note hereWhen did it occur.: We don't know when the accident occurred; so what—we need to establish the time as injured employees may be at risk; so what—we need to speak with someone with accurate information; so what—how do we get accurate information on the situation?
§  Add a note hereAction points.: Use the crisis communications plan and the mediums of mobile phone, emails, or text messaging. Use the information sources of chiefs of party or security managers, other employees, friends, family, police station, or hospitals.
2.  Add a note hereWhere did it occur.: We need to establish where the accident occurred; so what—the roads are poor and medical support is remote and limited; so what—we need to possibly extract them from the site and find get them to good medical treatment; so what—how do we do this?
§  Add a note hereAction Points.: Determine the location of the accident in relation to road, air or maritime casualty extraction routes as well as companies which might be able to support the medical extractions. We need to find hospitals or medical centers which could provide the correct level of medical treatment. We need to determine how payment is made and whether any insurance policies are in place.
3.  Add a note hereWhat happened:: We need to establish what happened; so what—it will determine the extent of injuries as well as any associated legal implications; so what—we need to establish the facts?
§  Add a note hereAction Points.: See points one and two. Also consider legal risks and implications and possible defense support requirements associated with being arrested or investigated within Nigeria.
Add a note hereAnd so forth… .
Add a note hereEach set of action points might also result in a “so what” scenario. For example, if no insurance policies are in place how can payment be made to ensure that medical treatment will be administrated to injured employees, or how can air evacuation options be utilized and who can make the decision and how can the company be engaged and paid? While the “so what” approach appears obvious and based on simple common sense, it is surprising how often obvious yet highly impactful issues are missed during a crisis situation. As such this form of approach can help crisis leaders ensure that they move through complex thought processes in a logical and comprehensive manner.

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