Crisis Management Capability

Our modern world is filled with disasters. Tornadoes, fires, floods, and even people can cause tremendous destruction.  When we watch the news, disaster seems like a faraway thing, something that happens to other people… but one day, someone else’s reality might become yours. A day may come when it is you and your company who are on the news, with disaster right in front of you, the rest of the world watching.

What will you do? How will you react? What will you tell the public, the Board, and other stakeholders? What will they think of you?  

Every member of the management team will be required to  step up to the plate and do their individual parts; otherwise, the company's reputation may be in danger.

What many managers may not realize is that their job descriptions apply not only to times of peace, but also to times of adversity. Some of them may think that their professional knowledge would be enough to handle anything within their expertise. But a crisis brings a very different reality. The command centre gets flooded with all kinds of news and information. Multiple concerns must be addressed concurrently: people issues, legal issues, PR issues, and technology issues, to name a few. Everything seems important. Individual priorities tend to override corporate values. When everyone tries to do what they think is right, it only leads to confusion and disharmony. A lack of defined roles aggravates the situation.

At the onset of a crisis, the majority of problems are people-related and tend to overwhelm the management team. Like a giant wave which threatens to completely sweep you away, a people crisis can be equally devastating and dangerous. At this point it is too late to change anything. The Crisis Management Team should have been prepared in advance.

All organizations whose reputations were damaged during a crisis had one thing in common: their leaders were not prepared to face a real calamity because the Crisis Management competency had not been established in their culture, or in their training curriculum.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 52% of  HR executives  emphasize the importance of leadership development, calling it one of their most crucial challenges in the years to come.

Solution from CoDimensions

Though there is no way to know what exactly lies ahead of each company, there are sets of practical skills and tools that its leaders can develop now, in order to be better equipped for anything that comes later. CoDimensions offers an innovative Leadership Development instrument for Crisis Management competency - the Immersive Crisis Exercise (ICE).

Powerful in its high level of realism and engagement, this state-of-the-art tool is designed to develop leadership skills for executives and their successors - individually, and as a team.

How ICE Works

During the exercise, the Management Team works from one room, the Command Centre, and the Simulation Team is placed in a different location. The executives play under the BLUE flag, managing the crisis, while the Simulation Team, playing under the RED, tries to make their job as challenging and as realistic as possible.

When the game begins, the Simulation Team makes the first move.  A breaking news report is broadcasted live into the command centre. Moments later, the Simulation Team  unleashes a flood of telephone calls and other messages: from emergency services, worried relatives, media, employees,  and other stakeholders. Participants get engaged in fast-paced, dynamic interactions with multiple stakeholders.

Everything that happens in the command centre is carefully designed, custom-tailored to the culture of the company, and approved by the sponsoring executive. At all times, professional facilitators are there for help and direction. When the game is over, there is an opportunity to review things learned and to provide feedback during a debriefing session.

Benefits of ICE

Simulation exercises are not tests; they are practical learning tools. They help gain valuable crisis management experience and at the same time avoid the threat of real danger. The Management, in addition to their professional expertise, acquire practical skills of dealing with crises and learn to keep their personal and corporate image unharmed. Members of the Crisis Management Team do not need to worry about any embarrassment because there is no "pass" or "fail". On-site facilitators work to ensure that everyone benefits. The participants come out of this event as a cohesive team,  more aware of their roles and confident in their ability to manage crises.

The benefits of Immersive Crisis Exercises are numerous and profound. The value of ICE for HR executives can be demonstrated by the following important outcomes:

  • Gain valuable experience in  a non-threatening way
  • Observe individuals and the entire team perform under pressure
  • Create AT-CRISIS set of policies and succession plans
  • Make leaders understand and accept their AT-CRISIS responsibilities
  • Build a team capable of managing crises
  • Lead strategic initiatives and establish Crisis Management capability for your company
  • Fulfill the Board's expectation for management trained in Crisis Management competency

We cannot avoid crises, but we can learn how to be prepared and how to handle them. The role of HR executives in building Crisis Management Capabilities as Part of the Leadership Development Program is invaluable. For more information on ICE solutions, please contact us.