Thoughts on our new Commanding the Crisis Workshop


business continuity forum event commanding the crisis management

In a few weeks we'll be running our new “Commanding the Crisis” workshop in London, it's on 29 June for those of you that have missed the notices, and I think it is only fair to share what I suppose is a little concern. It is the title that worries me.


Now as a catchy marketing slogan it works, no doubt about that, but business continuity management shouldn't really have an undue focus on marketing slogans. When we were deciding on the name and the options were presented I immediately homed in on “Commanding the Crisis” as the right choice. The problem I have had ever since though is that I don't want to mislead anyone.


It would have been a little negative, and open to quite a lot of misinterpretation, if we had chosen the word “coping” instead of Commanding and we specifically wanted to keep a degree of separation from the many websites that use the expression coping with a crisis in a far more personal way.


To my mind, and for many of those who have had to live through serious events the thought of actually being able to command a crisis is somewhat disingenuous, it implies that events can be fully directed as if one was a general ordering troops and that is very far from the truth. What we mean in terms of Business Continuity is there are steps that can be established, foundations that can be laid and actions that can be taken that ease the burden of management during difficult times. In the middle of the series event we are often facing a very fluid situation, with new challenges or unexpected problems emerging from the most unexpected or even innocuous areas. So a lot of our focus is on creating a framework for organisations that establish a process that recognises how crises emerge and identify potential issues early enough to mitigate the threat. This goes beyond the ubiquitous horizon scanning approach and instead looks to connect broader experience with operations of the organisation and connect potential events and activities important to stakeholders.


Early identification is key in managing a crisis effectively - putting the genie back into the bottle is virtually impossible - but getting a good handle on how events may escalate may allow strong intervention early enough to mitigate or even eliminate many of the issues that then could follow.


We also try to establish a framework for cultural and institutional learning, that challenges organisations to more firmly assess crisis potential that could arise from its activities, addressing those areas within its normal operations where at all possible. If the risk cannot be engineered out, then plans can be developed to address failures proactively and importantly at an early stage.


I'm not suggesting that all that this is easy and it does require a fairly high degree of buy-in from the highest levels of management, but its effectiveness in terms of crisis management is really easy to demonstrate, and when applied delivers a massive return on investment.


So when I look back at the title “Commanding the Crisis”, I suppose what we are actually saying is really, "learn how to lead the organisation through positive engagement and a highly effective crisis management approach and as a result cope much better", but that is not as catchy!


See you on the 29th.