Recent research indicates that the majority of organisations should anticipate a value-eroding crisis every five years. Organisations must prepare proactively for what many believe is now inevitable. However, managing a crisis response is difficult and should not be underestimated. Following on from practical experience with crisis response at the board level, here are five things crisis management teams should think about as they plan.

1. Staying Strategic

A critical area in which top teams consistently struggle is the “strategic” component of crisis response. The temptation is to get bogged down in the details, to become operational, and to find comfort in dealing with the familiar. There will be “fires at your feet” that must be extinguished, but the executive team’s role is critical in monitoring the horizon while anticipating the future and assisting those around them in planning and carrying out their decisions and directions.

This is where conceptual thinking models excel; they are straightforwardly derived approaches that capture the essential components of the thinking that a strategic crisis team should be doing. Few senior executives are intimately familiar with or even have read their organization’s crisis plans. The critical point is to have a straightforward, well-structured key activity process in place to keep them on track, particularly during times of crisis.

2. Developing Situational Awareness

Oftentimes, organisations are overwhelmed by the complexity of managing the flood of information that occurs during a crisis. Their objective in an army battle headquarters is to gain access to the enemy’s response loop, or decision cycle. Similarly, for a business in a crisis, the objective is to regain control of the situation by getting ahead of the decision/action cycle. Understanding the situation is critical, and effectively managing information is critical to accomplishing this. It requires established procedures for gathering information from credible sources, collating and analysing it to convert it from unstructured data into something useful, and then disseminating it to those who require it. Even you can join crisis management training Melbourne to develop more skills.

3. Integrating Communications

Additionally, quality information facilitates effective communication. Too frequently, the message does not accurately reflect reality, indicating a disconnection between crisis managers and communicators. Crisis communications and crisis management teams should be coordinated centrally to ensure that well-prepared plans are implemented successfully on both sides. This should encourage and make it easier for facts and messages to be mixed together so that they are relevant and timely.

4. Listening Leaders

A crisis centre is often a noisy, tense, and scratchy place where no one pays attention to anyone else, let alone the background noise made by staff, the public, and the news media in general.

The most important skill that any crisis leader can possess is listening. Hearing what is said, detecting nuance and trend, hearing the silence, cacophony, or crescendo. Too frequently, crisis teams fail to truly listen to what is going on around them, missing the mood, the swing of views, or simply the volume of noise, impairing their response’s efficacy.

5. Rehearse

Consider a Premier League team that is completely unprepared! Survival would be brief, and sympathy would be scarce. Maintaining peak performance requires practice, and the same is true for crisis management. The environment is uncertain, complex, pressured, and risky during a crisis. Why would any team refuse to practice, even more so when the stakes are so high?


Exercises in crisis management must be credible and as realistic as possible, simulating the complexity of the crisis arena through speed, pressure, uncertainty, and survival-threatening decisions. “Train hard, fight easy,” as the adage goes. Crisis experience is critical for success, so practice and practice some more. Analyses of previous incidents demonstrate that well-prepared businesses recovered stronger and faster than those that were unprepared and whose values decreased rapidly for an extended period.