Crisis Management


Crisis is a situation demanding immediate attention, which otherwise would result in substantial losses financially. Crisis results in partial or complete shut-down of organisation’s production line OR communication network OR data availability, etc.

We have faced crisis situations sometimes or the other. Floods, earthquake, tsunami, fire, hurricane, riots are the examples of crisis affecting the society at large. There are other situations, which we will study further. Crisis situations demand involvement of entire organisation since survival becomes important.

Management of crisis is an extremely important part of the organisation.

What happens during Crisis?

During crisis, following happens singly or combined:

    • Disruption of basic Infrastructure like:
        • Communication network (i.e. breakage of mobile, telephone, internet services);
        • Transport network, (i.e. roads, rail, airplane, ship, etc.);
        • Electricity and diesels running out, (i.e. failure of electric grid, destruction of electric supply network, etc.);
        • Water supply, (i.e. non-availability of clean drinking water)
    • Disruption of manpower services, (i.e. strike, lockout, riots, etc.);
    • Security of all assets becoming difficult, (i.e. foreign military attack, riots, earthquake, flood, etc.);
    • Crashing on non-availability of computer software data where back-ups not available parallel at location other than affected location (especially in banking, financial services);
    • Captivity of organisation’s key management person or his / her family members by kidnappers or terrorists;
    • Racial attack at foreign location;
    • Sudden death of a key management person without proper back-up / inheritance planning;
    • Crashing / problem with key customer resulting in undue delay in collection of receivables & affecting cash flows severely;
    • Sudden crisis affecting the entire business (e.g. sub-prime crisis or 9/11 or 26/11 attacks).

Managing the Crisis

Crisis situations are difficult times since everything happens all of a sudden. Lot of management is done when crisis strikes. Following actions can be taken pre-crisis and while in crisis besides post-crisis.

    • Pre-crisis
        • Least steps can be taken in unpredictable crisis, which strikes suddenly without giving any notice (e.g. earthquake);
        • Unfriendly / troubled sectors or areas or countries (e.g. African countries, etc.)
            • Protection of assets (human and other assets) → critically important;
            • Sufficient security cover at organisation’s premises and residences of manpower;
            • Development of colonies for keeping the entire manpower together → security cover for entire colony;
            • Least disclosure of movement of key employees;
            • Efficient access management system for regulating entry and exit through camera, biometric, retina, etc.;
            • Sufficient food supplies, diesel and other essential products within organisation to manage long stays;
            • Parallel data back-ups at other locations for immediate start of activity when disruption happens;
            • Availability of satellite phones for maintaining regular communication with outside world;
            • Regular mock drills to check preparedness;
            • Keeping whistles (a very effective manual alarm system);
            • Preparing Must-have checklists and regular review of their compliances strictly without fail.
        • Warnings of crisis available (visible deteriorating surrounding conditions) like riots, weather warnings, etc. where some actions can be taken before outbreak sets in:
            • Communicating to other locations of organisation about the state of affairs at affected location;
            • Communicating with local administration of the area (police, etc.) about the organisation and requirement of security cover;
            • Building-up resources as listed in previous section to manage contingencies;
            • Selecting a location which can withstand the crisis and doesn’t crumble;
            • Securing all manpower at one location rather than being scattered to ensure better security;
            • Updating checklists to handle such situations listing out actions to be taken and important contact numbers;
            • Carrying out mock drill exercise to manage the crisis;
            • Keeping whistles (a very effective manual alarm system), warmers, life jackets, medical kits, etc.
    • During Crisis
        • Keeping food supplies handy;
        • Keeping whistles (a very effective manual alarm system), warmers, life jackets, medical kits, etc.;
        • Pray, which has got lot of power;
        • Keep calm and don’t panic.
    • Post Crisis
        • Crucial time since every second counts and any delay in action costs;
        • Reviving communication channel → establishing regular connection of local teams with outside world;
        • Deploying sufficient manpower to carry out rescue work;
        • Reviving transportation network;
        • Mobilise resources to carry out revival operations;
        • Use satellites to track people;
        • Mobilise sufficient life saving drugs, food supplies, clothes, blankets, rain coats, etc.
        • Preparation of checklists and regular review of the same.
    • Summarising the broad steps
        • Building checklist of steps to be taken with important contact numbers for
            • Pre-Crisis;
            • During Crisis;
            • Post-Crisis.
        • Carrying out regular mock drills to assess preparedness;
        • Regular review and compliance by senior management for checklists being followed.

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