Five Elements to Help Your Org Survive and Thrive During Crisis
25th August 2020
There are plenty of examples of mega crisis out in the world right now, and if you’re even remotely engaged in the day-to-day news, you’ve likely developed some opinions about how some organisations—including your own—respond.
When companies respond to any crisis, they make decisions (good and bad) that will shape their standing in the world, impact their success, and define how they operate going forward. Having plans in place before a crisis hits is obviously best but sometimes, despite your best efforts, you’re faced with responding re-actively. Whether your organisation had an existing crisis management plan in place before a crisis hit, or had to react moment-by-moment, you likely encountered all kinds of challenges as you managed through.
Here are five things you can do to help your organisation to navigate methodically during any crisis:
1. Get Help with Business Resiliency if You’re Unprepared
Business resiliency plans help your organisations continue operations, support employees, deliver on client commitments, and help communities. They also enable an organisation to live up to its corporate values, which is critical during crisis.
To put it simply, ask for help from a trusted business partner with lots of experience.
Whether your organisation is executing a plan right now or responding re-actively, Cisco has a portfolio of business resiliency offerings to help to help you work through today’s significant challenges and plan for future uncertainties.
2. Communicate Honestly and Often
During a crisis, people want to see that leadership is aware, engaged, and on top of a situation.
Communicating clearly and quickly to customers is a top priority. Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins recently reached out to customers and partners to let them know he was in tune with the raw realities and concerns about today’s crises and offered tangible ways Cisco could help.
Equally important is communicating with employees frequently in a clear, consistent, and compassionate manner. These employee “check-ins” are very effective in helping our global employees feel connected, informed, and supported. But top-down communications are just the start. It’s equally important to have communication channels up to leadership. During any significant crisis, teams tend to start responding swiftly in various, creative ways. This work is important but can lead to duplication of effort or confusion for your customers if not coordinated. Developing definitive lines of communication to leadership with consolidated information about the cross-organisation response makes it easier for leadership to apply resources where needed.
3. Help Your Cross-functional Neighbour
During a crisis, priorities shift and some teams are naturally busier than others. Flexibility is key to balancing resources and supporting spikes in workload. Employees want to pitch in and this “one team” approach builds goodwill, strengthens relationships, and improves teamwork.
Encouraging and helping people across functional lines for the good of customers and the organisation during crises pays off by fostering a culture of teaming, collaboration, and customer success.
4. Giving Sparks Giving – Help Your Company Give Back
During crisis, are there ways your organisation can help communities, individuals, and business partners weather the storm? When executive leadership teams step up quickly and direct company resources to help others, individuals across the organisation are inspired to do the same.
Giving sparks and the more that leaders show how the company is giving, the more employees will give.
5. Be an Observer and Record What is Happening
Do you have observer roles to capture how your organisation deals with crisis? You should. Whether you have methodical, detailed crisis response plans for the most significant risks or not, you will likely learn lessons during a crisis.
Record those lessons, capture best practices, and once there’s a return to increased stability, conduct a review with your team to share learning and update plans. Crisis of all flavors are inevitable – what you learn along the way will be valuable in the face of them, and the important takeaway is to always have a plan.