Why crisis response execution doesn't work 100%?

In business any kind of crisis can happen. Recently, we experienced Coronavirus in China  and based on the World Health Organization it is being spread globally very fast. 

In the mainland, ABC News informs that Apple, McDonalds, Starbucks, and others have closed locations or reduced service due to the uncertainties and the circumstances.

In business, a crisis is inevitable. Those who plan for it in advance, are the winners as usual. But there are many companies that prepare their response plan before and they fail when it comes to execution.

Let's dive a bit deeper and categorize the reasons together:

A) Weak scenario planning

Crisis is considered as a big risk and managing risk needs proactive scenario planning. The problem is that due to lack of knowledge and experience about business atmosphere, economic situation and sometimes over-estimating our business capabilities we don't check and study all possible scenarios and eventually we don't make an effective plan to protect our business in crisis.

B) Lack of authority, communication, and training

Reacting to crisis needs fast decisions. Some leaders need to control everything by themselves. Well... we don't call them leaders. In fact, they are strict managers. Finding higher management sometimes is not easy. It's obvious that we would better train our people, give them enough chance to practice and make them confident to decide whenever they should.

Also, it is necessary to create proper channels to communicate. Communication is not always about internal issues. In many cases, customers, all stakeholders and people who are interested in our business should know things at the earliest. Basically, on-time, honest and proper response influences the reputation of our companies.

C) Clear protocols and procedures

All steps when it comes to operations should be predicted and communicated. We can't leave anything remained unless issues that we couldn't anticipate. That's why it is highly recommended to pre-plan in groups and not individually.

D) Clear roles and responsibilities

Crisis gets worse if two or more people work on the same problem without communicating it! Roles and responsibilities are not subjective issues to be described to make people feel good. They are necessary for defining, controlling and managing procedures and processes.

E) Not following standards

Standards are defined based on previous experiences usually tested by experienced experts. Instead of going blind and inventing wheels, we can always follow them to make our lives easier.

BUSINESS CONTINUITY - ISO 22301 is a great standard to follow.

The main problem with a crisis is that it's unpredictable and it may pop up in many unknown shapes. 

The best advice for crisis management is preparation by pro-active planning. Re-active companies will eventually lose their business someday in the future.