Is Your Board Ready

Critical Incident Planning

Is Your Board Ready?

This blog is central to your ability to respond and recovery from the critical incidents that will affect every business. Small or large, at some point in the life cycle of your organisation a critical incident is absolutely most likely to hit you. So, is your board ready and is it fit for purpose.

I’m not talking about your governance board though, I am talking about your critical incident management (CIM) board.

A board that is central and visual to employees.  There to be seen, referenced to and part of leader led conversations that are done in a relaxed but succinct manner that removes the “chaos in crisis”. Those real collaborative conversations build resilience and readiness.

On so many occasions we have seen organisations fail in their response to critical incidents. Through debrief or conversations its often learnt from the people at the coal face that the following themes become visible;

“We didn’t know what to do”

“I didn’t know who was in charge”

“We didn’t have a plan for this”

“We thought it would happen one day but we haven’t trained for it”

Any of that sound familiar ?

Ask a few “What if” questions and play that out. How would your team respond if something critical happened right now ?

It doesn’t have to be this way. If you want pragmatic solutions that build readiness and resilience into your organisation, then get yourself a critical incident management board and make the conversations part of “how you roll as an organisation to reduce critical risk.

Incidents such as,

  • Natural disaster on a scale of disruption, destruction, evacuation or staff injury
  • Dealing with aggressive customers with the potential for violence
  • Serious workplace injuries
  • Violent criminal offending - ie Robbery
  • Business disruption - due to criminal offending in proximity
  • Emergency evacuations - fire - bomb threats
  • Any situation requiring immediate lock down of premises and staff
  • Threats and intimidation
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Adverse media attention
  • And yes, terrorism

All, or some of these can be represented on your critical incident management board. You decide based on the likelihood of the risk occurring inside your business.

It's most likely that you already have screeds of policy and procedure already in place. That’s fine except, that in the moment of crisis and chaos, people don’t remember the policy and procedure buried in digital archives or stashed away in ring binders.

The beauty of a critical incident management board is that, you bring those policies and procedures to life in a pragmatic and simplistic way and you have it visible in a central place. This builds readiness and resilience for your people. The board then becomes the enabler for leader led conversations. At a team meeting gather your people around the board, grab the flip chart and speak to a plan based on a what if scenario;

“Hey guys, I’m just gonna spend five minutes talking to you about our lockdown procedure. Given that we are within a mall environment, there are a number of situations where we might need to “pull the lockdown lever” and get everyone into safety. It could be something that happens within the store or something that happens outside the store but within the mall and therefore its proximity affects our safety, here’s what we need to be thinking of”

Relaxed conversation that is then referenced to your "plan on a page" and highlights your policy and procedure. Spending five minutes picking a topic and talking to it. This is how you get people to remember what to do and when to do it. You talk to it often and in small bite size chunks that they remember.

If critical incident management board sounds too heavy in tone, then soften it and call it whatever you want. At the end of the day it’s a visual reference that people have access to, so they can understand what to do and when to do it when critical incidents occur. And they will occur. Change the wording, build the plan and create conversation around likely what if scenario’s.

In Europe, we put in place a “critical incident evacuation plan” for an American rock band. Those words were a bit to heavy and a bit scary for those who were already impacted by the terrorist attack at the Bataclan theater. They knew those catastrophic attacks could happen again, and they also knew, there were other incidents that could require their immediate evacuation from the stage and the arena, so they wanted to mitigate that risk. In softening the tone, we simply called it the FOOD plan.

If you have read this far and can figure out the FOOD acronym and you want some help in putting together your organisation critical incident management board. Then unravel the FOOD acronym, let us know and well throw you a nice little discount on our engagement. It’s just our way of having a little fun, while building your organisation readiness and resilience. Here’s a hint OD stands for “Outer Dodge”. Think Rock n Roll world and you’ll get it !

About QRisk

Paul Walsh is a partner @ QRisk – Speaker | Trainer | Fixer | Consultant

The team at QRisk are specialists at fixing security, and risk based problems with a strong emphasis on critical incident planning. We help organisations better understand the problem by looking at people, systems and process and provide intelligent and pragmatic solutions to resolve them through our bespoke consultancy services.