Crisis Management Team, Assemble!

Erik Bernstein crisis management

Crisis Management Team, Assemble!

While being on a crisis management team may not be quite as glamorous as joining the Avengers in battling interdimensional threats, I don’t think it’s over-selling to say that the members of the crisis team can and frequently do hold the fate of their organization, and at least the immediate future of those who rely on it for goods, services, and employment, in their hands. While hopefully your own crisis management team doesn’t need to activate as frequently as we see new Marvel movies drop, when a serious threat does emerge you’d probably feel better knowing who’s on the team, what everyone’s roles should be, and that they’re practiced and prepared enough to handle the responsibility they’ve been saddled with.

Who Are The Key Players in Safeguarding Your Organization?

Even with the increased awareness of crisis management best practices today, a startling number of new clients don’t have an answer when we ask who’s on their crisis team. This is a major problem.

Why? Because when a crisis strikes, what makes the difference between chaos and controlled navigation is how your crisis management team responds. An informed and practiced response will typically ensure damage is prevented or mitigated as much as possible while safeguarding your good name. In contrast, trying to address issues without the right team or proper preparations in place will often dig the hole deeper.

So, who makes up this critical team, and what exactly do they do?

Understanding the Crisis Management Team

A crisis management team is a specialized group within an organization, dedicated to preparing for, responding to, and recovering from various crises. These can range from data breaches and PR nightmares to natural disasters and beyond. The team’s makeup is not arbitrary; it’s a carefully selected ensemble of professionals, each bringing a unique set of skills and perspectives to the table.

The Core Members of a Crisis Management Team

While this isn’t set in stone, the five roles below are included somewhere in the vast majority of crisis management teams.

  1. Key Executives: High-level executives with decision-making power are crucial for making significant calls quickly and potentially acting as spokespersons.
  2. Operations Lead: This person understands the intricacies of the business’s day-to-day operations and is crucial in maintaining continuity amidst a crisis.
  3. Legal Advisor: A legal expert is indispensable for navigating the legal complexities of a crisis, ensuring compliance, and assisting in litigation prevention.
  4. Human Resources Representative: They play a vital role in communicating with and ensuring the safety and well-being of employees
  5. Crisis Management Expert: Whether an outside consultant or in-house staff, this individual helps to guide and unify response efforts both from a macro level (educating on current best practices, for example) and a micro level (including authoring crisis-related communications).

The Role of Ad-Hoc Members

In addition to the core team, ad-hoc members are often brought in to provide specialized support for specific issues. This might include:

  • IT Specialists: For handling technological crises, such as cybersecurity breaches.
  • Finance Experts: To manage and mitigate financial risks and implications.
  • Security Professionals: For dealing with physical threats to the organization or its personnel.
  • Scientific Advisors: Such as epidemiologists in the event of a health crisis.

Responsibilities of the Crisis Management Team

The CMT isn’t just a reactive unit; it’s proactive, strategic, and constantly vigilant. Here’s what they are responsible for:

  • Planning and Training: Ensuring the organization is well-prepared with comprehensive crisis management plans and regular training exercises.
  • Monitoring: Keeping an eye out for potential crises before they escalate, using both technology and human intelligence.
  • Crisis Response: Organizing and executing the response to a crisis, ensuring that actions are swift, coordinated, and effective.
  • Employee Safety: Prioritizing the safety and well-being of all employees throughout the crisis.
  • Reputation Protection: Actively working to protect and even enhance the company’s reputation during and after the crisis.
  • Legal Support: Assisting legal counsel with any litigation prevention measures and ensuring all actions are compliant with relevant laws and regulations.

A Well-Assembled Team

A well-assembled crisis management team is the backbone of any organization’s crisis response. Each member plays a pivotal role, bringing their expertise to bear in protecting the company’s operations, employees, and reputation. Remember, in the face of crisis, it’s not just about the plans you have in place; it’s about the people ready to enact them. With a competent and comprehensive CMT, your organization is not just prepared to face crises—it’s equipped to emerge stronger on the other side.

The BCM Blogging Team