You know it’s coming. But not when, where, or how big.
You’ll sleep a lot better if you’re confident your crisis management plan works. One of the ways to earn that confidence is with a program of effective, multidimensional simulations that test your board, your C-Suite, and the organization that stands behind them. Do you feel this is “for real” while it’s happening? That’s one test of effectiveness. Do you feel you really learned something afterward? That’s an even bigger one.
There is more than one way to approach a simulation. The ones that create lasting value go far beyond the theatrics of a simple “fire drill” that focuses only on a short-term crisis. An effective crisis simulation puts the organization to a stringent test, whether or not the scenario represents the worst case. It demands the right questions and the right responses. It cascades realistically from one decision point to another. It plays through both your external and internal worlds. It leaves participants, including the C-Suite, feeling they’ve truly learned something by testing their responsibilities under trying circumstances that subject them to uncertainty, ambiguity, and conflicting and incomplete information—where there is often less known than unknown—so the crisis modus operandi permeates all levels of the organization from the boardroom to the front lines.
The foundation of this approach is preparation. The objective might be an orderly exploration of strategic market risk, a dramatic moment-to-moment sequence of scenarios and responses, or something in between. The trigger might involve technical failure, market disruption, natural events, or deliberate malfeasance. In each case, the effort an organization puts into planning and customizing its crisis simulation approach can pay off many times over when a real crisis strikes—in personal preparedness, process improvement, team coherence, and raw confidence. The result is a team that’s more confidently equipped to handle crisis, faster in reacting to it, and ready to scale up the necessary resources for response and recovery.