Well, it wasn’t the most dynamic of openings I’ll admit, but we recently mentioned in a client meeting that it was Business Continuity week in May. You could hear the eyeballs roll like it was 1999.
What short memories we all have eh!
We may have just been through a global pandemic which permanently altered our ways of working in ways that we’re yet to fully appreciate. But have attitudes to crisis management really improved for good? And do we still afford Comms and OD colleagues the respect they deserve for their unique skills and invaluable role they play? Really?
Sure, we’re all worn out, weary of living on the edge of apocalypse, survivors of our own unique dramas hinting at PTSD. But leaders, especially first line managers, have borne the brunt of the constant scrambling for the latest new normal while privileged board members show their frustration with the slow pace of restoring bums to expensive seats.
Even if the more logical among us recognise that socio- economic circumstances suggest that the pace of change is going to be extreme, well, forever, let’s face it, crises are likely to be constant (the climate change activists think we only have 50 years left on this planet, for example), and most of us are largely living in denial for fear of the worst.
The last thing most leaders want to do is start re-examining our crisis and contingency plans. We want an office and a reason to anchor us there and real work to be getting on with until THIS weirdness all goes away, right?
Are you crisis ready?
I’m sure you’ve heard the moans and possibly even muttered these phrases yourselves from time to time when someone mentions the need to review contingency, comms or crisis readiness:
“Oh come on, we’re wasting so much time prepping for something that will probably never happen while I’m here” or “lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place…”
Better still: “I’ve got real work to do now” etc etc
“We all know the drill and have all become communicators. So let’s start reigning back on that stuff.”
Suffice to say: had it not been for each and every organisation’s contingency/emergency, crisis plans, developed and delivered largely by their IT, Ops, Comms and HR professionals, one thing’s for sure, more organisations would have gone down during the global pandemic than actually made it through. It’s not for nothing that Comms, HR and IT colleagues have been lauded as superheroes during this pandemic, popped almost on the same pedestal as frontline essential health workers.
So, before you rush forward and write off the pandemic as a one off event or start filling comms teams with “super secretarial services”, take a hard and long look around you. Take proper stock of the political and economic instability that is rampant at the moment, how 911 was followed by banking crisis by austerity by Brexit by the identity conflicts then by war. Where will it all end? Well, it probably won’t. Sadly. And you’re going to need communicators and crisis managers who are future fit, permanently.
Future Fit Comms
We talk a lot about future fit leadership traits here at Mosaic Towers. We’ve been chatting non-stop about future fitness since the pandemic really gripped as we knew then what we all know now, that the health crisis was only the first wave of permanent changes to leadership competencies. We’ve helped many clients develop their crisis communication strategies before, but often after the proverbial “horse” has bolted.
Business continuity skills are very much part of the future fit leadership constellation. The ability to horizon scan, strategize, plan agilely, recruit and engage stakeholders and express the organisation’s journey as an evolving narrative complete with trials and successes are all component parts of the future fitness leadership package. So how confident are you feeling, right now? How future fit are your crisis management skills, especially the communication element?
Well, to help mark Business Continuity Week in May, have a go at this simple test. Give yourself and your leadership collective a mark out of five for each of these ten questions. If you’re scoring less than 30/50, give us a ring. As you know, it’s good to chat.
(out of 5 with 5 = exemplary)
1. Rate your current crisis management strategy, plan SOP [ ]
2. Rate the current crisis comms management skills of your Comms, IT, HR functions. [ ]
3. Rate the current crisis comms management skills of your senior leaders [ ]
4. Rate the current crisis comms management skills of your first line managers [ ]
5. Rate your internal stakeholder engagement levels [ ]
6. Rate your horizon and issues scanning ability as an organisation. [ ]
7. Rate the resilience levels of your employees. [ ]
8. Rate your crisis management continuous improvement mechanisms. [ ]
9. To what extent is crisis management entrenched in your organisation’s goal setting and performance management for leaders? [ ]
10. To what extent do you benchmark your crisis management approach and share best practices? [ ]
40-50: Head up: fancy delivering a masterclass on the subject for us?
30- 40: Chin up: You’re in the zone, but watch for blind spots
Under 30: Don’t hang up: Give us a call asap.
The Team @ Mosaic
We would love to hear from you…