Crisis Management Training

In order to be most effective, companies should invest the time and resources to ensure that management is prepared to face the range of risks it may face as an organization or as an individual project. The value in training managers can be expressed as follows:
§  Add a note hereAllows managers to be selfsufficient and structure and develop their own plans.
§  Add a note hereSupports managers in identifying risks prior to an emergency occurring, enabling better risk mitigation measures.
§  Add a note hereEnables an effective response to crisis situations—bringing control and understanding more quickly to an event.
§  Add a note hereAllows local managers to understand how best to leverage organic and external resources and capabilities.
§  Add a note hereProvides validation of plans and policies (i.e., helps to sustain such plans over the course of the project's life span).
§  Add a note hereProvides confidence, familiarity, and buyin from users and stakeholders.
§  Add a note hereDemonstrates duty of care and corporate governance and responsibility.
§  Add a note hereImproves interagency cooperation and relationships.
§  Add a note hereSupports better business practices (i.e., makes for more productive and profitable pursuits).
§  Add a note hereGains greater buyin from users and stakeholders.
§  Add a note hereEngenders a collaborative approach and positive contributions to mitigating risks and dealing with crisis events.

Security and Safety Awareness

An important precursor to the IMP is the training and education of employees operating either domestically or within foreign operating environments. Companies may wish to expand IMP training to include hostile environment briefings or training in order to illustrate the typical risks employees traveling to, or operating in, a new or challenging environment may face, and thus assist them in avoiding many of the issues that could befall them, but may fall outside of their common experiences or understanding. Often corporate policies and plans may not be provided to a wider audience as a complete product, but instead only appropriate sections are furnished to employee users. Therefore, each plan should contain the relevant information to allow it to operate in isolation to achieve its objectives, whether geared toward a domestic audience familiar and comfortable with their cultural or environmental surroundings or toward an audience operating within a new or unfamiliar territory.
Add a note hereCompanies should consider at what level they should educate and train staff in order to provide the appropriate foundations for the IMP. Layered training within an organization will often be appropriate, as a sizable company will typically have a small proportion of staff exposed to certain levels of risk or specific risk types, while the wider group will be exposed to more generic levels and types of risk. Some groups may require a cursory level of education and training, while others may require a more comprehensive training regime. The function of hostile environment or security awareness training can have broad objective parameters, or may be focused on a particular operating environment. Some common themes that may be covered are:

§  Add a note hereTypical risk types and impacts.
§  Add a note hereAssessing and evaluating risk.
§  Add a note hereSituational awareness and travel security.
§  Add a note hereCultural sensitivity and awareness.
§  Add a note hereSocial, religious, political, and gender norms.
§  Add a note hereRegional infrastructures and support structures.
§  Add a note hereMedical and health impacts.
§  Add a note hereRisk mitigation techniques and emergency responses.
Add a note hereHostile environment (or traveler's safety) training will often act as both supportive and preemptive measures for the IMP. Some company staff may not be aware that there are approximately 300 religions in nearly 200 independent countries worldwide, all with their own unique characteristics and risk factors. Some countries are led autocratically, others through democratically elected or monarchical systems. In some countries gender equality is a given, whereas in others women have diminished social roles. Shaking hands or showing feet in some cultures is offensive, while folding your arms in other cultures indicates that you are paying attention. In some countries free speech is a right, whereas in others public expressions of opinion can result in imprisonment. Taking photographs in some countries may lead to arrest; in others, drinking alcohol is forbidden. Companies may therefore wish to precede the IMP with some form of security or safety awareness training so that personnel will understand the cultural and environmental context in which the IMP is set.

Monitoring Crisis Management Programs

Add a note hereA Business Continuity Management Plan and its constituent elements should be considered a living entity, subject to growth and change. While the company may develop an allencompassing IMP to meet a wide spectrum of typical operating challenges, tailoring and updates of the IMP will often be required to ensure that the plan retains its accuracy and effectiveness for each operating activity and region. An intelligencedriven policy will govern how the procedures are amended, adapted, or revised. The changing and evolving external socioeconomic and geopolitical influences should be used in concert with internal and external monitoring evaluations and validations, ensuring that security measures and crisis response arrangements reflect the current threats and that the potential for complacency within the company is minimized. Changing supporting structures or management elements should also be incorporated within aspects of the Business Continuity Management Plan and supporting components such as the IMP, reflecting fluctuating and evolving organizational structures, capabilities, and focuses (i.e., notably if stages within a project see significant differences in approach requirement).

Add a note hereAn internal monitoring or assessment team can be used to test, evaluate, and exercise personnel in their responsibilities, ensuring that corporate policy is being effectively implemented at all levels, as well as identifying any areas for change or improvement. Enhancements should be collaboratively sought from both corporate and field levels. Such a monitoring team is also useful in the formal assessment of personnel, contributing to the evaluation of a crisis management structure as well as key individuals within it.

Add a note hereExternal monitoring teams allow a fresh and impartial validation on how well formulated and relevant the current security policies and plans are. They can also contribute in a consultancy role, offering suggestions to the executive management on policy amendments and alternative methods of implementing security arrangements. External monitoring can be through unannounced spot checks, exercises, or allocated assessment periods, and can be conducted concurrently with management exercises in the IMP's utilization.

Add a note hereExternal consultants may also be required to offer guidance on how to amend or adapt the Business Continuity Management Plan and IMP following a crisis incident. Many organizations, having successfully managed a crisis, slip into a state of complacency, believing that they now have the expertise to overcome any future crises (Ian I. Mitroff and Christine M. Pearson, Crisis Management: A Diagnostic Guide for Improving Your Organization's CrisisPreparedness, JosseyBass, 1993, p. 23). Companies should seek to learn from a crisis event and improve their response policies, procedures, and mechanisms to better manage any subsequent crises.

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