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4 STEPS TO ASSESS THE

OPERATIONALIZATION OF YOUR
CRISIS RESPONSE PLAN
By Chris Britton | October 27, 2016 | Crisis Management

Although a growing number of organizations now recognize the


importance of having a crisis response plan in place, unfortunately many
of these companies still do not have a truly operational planone that will
enable them to respond to a crisis quickly and effectively. In fact, a 2016
surveyfound that 70 percent of organizations that had experienced a
crisis needed up to three years to fully recover their operations and
reputation.

This indicates that organizations may not truly be prepared for a crisis,
even if they have developed strategic emergency plans. The
operationalization of a plan is a legitimate concern; it may mean the
difference between the business thriving through a crisisor having to
shut its doors.
To see how your crisis response plan stacks up, weve listed four steps
needed to assess its operationalization:

1. EXAMINE ACCOUNTABILITIES.
First, think about who is in charge of what during a crisis response. Who
is responsible for managing the overall crisis response? How does this
team or individual delegate other responsibilities, such as calling the
police or helping to evacuate the building? Do individual stakeholders
understand their role in a crisis, and does everyone have the resources
necessary to do their part?

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During an emergency, your people are your most valuable asset, and they
play a vital role in helping the organization get through the crisis event. So
its incredibly important to make sure your crisis plan works for your
people and vice versa.

2. CONSIDER POTENTIAL
VULNERABILITIES.
Meet with your crisis response team, department heads, executives and
other key stakeholders to reassess your organizations potential
vulnerabilities. Does the crisis plan account for every possibility? If not, it
is not fully operational. Now is the time to develop a new response for
each new
vulnerabilitybefore the next crisis strikesand to make sure every
stakeholder receives training on it.

3. CONDUCT MOCK CRISIS SCENARIOS.


One of the best ways to assess your plans readiness is to actually put it
to the test. Hold a table-top exercise, where you and other key
stakeholders walk through every step of the plan. Or, stage a mock crisis,
such as severe weather or an IT outage, and have employees go through
their response as if it were a real emergency.
Afterward, gather stakeholder feedback on the organizations response
during the mock crisis. This simple exercise can reveal significant gaps in
your plan and help your team to make the necessary improvements.

4. EXAMINE PREVIOUS CRISIS


RESPONSES.
Of course, its always important to learn from any crisis and apply those
lessons to your response plan moving forward. To assess how well your
plan is performing, conduct a lessons learned session with your crisis
response team, executives and other relevant individuals. Walk back
through previous crises, examine the response and discuss what worked
and what didnt. Then, be sure that wisdom is applied to the current
plan.
These steps will help to give valuable insight into how well-equipped your
organization and its people are to respond to an emergency event. This is
also an opportunity to make sure your crisis plans are accessible by all
stakeholders and that your team can quickly contact all employees during
a crisis. If your plan falls short on these key features, consider
incorporating a mobile crisis management app, which provides digitized
versions of crisis plans, and delivers messages and push notifications,
directly to stakeholders mobile devices.
Would you say your crisis response plan is fully operationalized? What
techniques do you use to put it to the test?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Christopher Britton is the Chief Operating Officer for RockDove Solutions,
the developer of the In Case of Crisis solution. Mr. Britton oversees the
revenue growth, client success and operations of the business. Mr. Britton
brings to this effort a track record of creating high growth and successful
organizations with a focus on solving real-life problems with creative and
intuitive technology solutions. He leads a team of professionals who align
the In Case of Crisis mobile solutions to client needs. Mr. Britton has had
great success working with corporations, schools, NGOs and government
institutions. Mr. Brittons management successes span; IPOs, global
expansions, new products, accelerated growth and profitability with public
and private companies including; AT&T, Rosetta Stone, Interfolio and
Vocus. Mr. Britton holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business
Administration with a minor in Computer Science from the University of
Dayton.