Crisis Management Communications and Information

Crises essentially fall into 2 categories – either, those that are anticipated and may have a timescale involved before they affect a company e.g. Hurricanes, Pandemics or, those that are sudden and can have immediate affects e.g. Fires, Earthquakes, Bomb Threats.

Regardless of the category of crisis, a principal factor in how a company faces the problem is effective Crisis Management. A critical component of Crisis Management is clear, unambiguous, two-way communication and information exchange along pre-determined lines of communication between the Crisis Management Team (CMT) and assigned work teams.

A severe crisis normally leaves little room for unilateral, uncoordinated actions – indeed such actions could be counterproductive to the overall resilience of a company. A mass of conflicting information and communications will, inevitably lead to confusion and, perhaps, a break-down of effective leadership and direction.

During a few impending Hurricanes, I have personally witnessed the authority of a number of CMTs being undermined because staff members spent valuable time accessing a variety of Hurricane related web sites – often with conflicting interpretations – staff began to second-guess the CMTs and rumours started to run rife – as a result, the CMTs had to waste valuable time (in often rapidly diminishing timescales) getting company actions back on track.

The CMT (in those companies that have them) are usually appointed by senior management to direct company actions in the face of a crisis – in effect, during a crisis the CMT are the “leaders” of that company and, simply put – “what they say – goes”.

The most efficient communications tend to be simple and in-line with pre-determined plans and associated training. A prime example would be a CMT instructing a team to complete a series of action checklists to a deadline – the simple responses are, initially, an acknowledgement of the instruction followed, in the course of time, by a confirmation that either, the required action checklists have been completed or, certain specified elements of the action checklist remain to be completed – few words, straight forward delegation of responsibility and subsequently, confirmation.

Over the course of years, the BIC Business Continuity Planning team has developed a comprehensive Hurricane Advisory system that releases CMT members from the time consuming task of assessing the risks and timescales involved and provides the CMT with a regular, timely and detailed package that is easily disseminated to the staff of recipient companies. At a very early stage, the BIC team start to monitor any Tropical system (usually within the Caribbean Basin) that may pose a threat to the Cayman Islands – recipient companies are informed accordingly; therefore, from a very early stage, CMT members are aware that they have a responsible and experienced team “watching their backs”.

“I truly like the fact that BIC provide an early warning of any Storm system that may threaten us. The detail, clarity and frequency of BIC Tropical Storm/Hurricane Notices & Advisories enable management and staff to effectively concentrate on the wide scope of business and staff preparations to ensure full resilience and continuity in the event of a Tropical Storm/Hurricane approaching the Cayman Islands.

Alvaro Quintas Melero

MD, Unicorp Bank & Trust Ltd, Cayman Islands (Part of the Itau group)

The fact that I can rely on a single channel of information, that compiles information from agencies and government together with BICs own interpretation, is a significant benefit

Alvaro Quintas Melero

MD, Unicorp Bank & Trust Ltd, Cayman Islands (Part of the Itau group)

“The BIC Hurricane advisory service is invaluable in ensuring that we are kept abreast with the most up-to-date information available, keeping our finger on the pulse as well as keeping our employees informed, to allow for the most preparation possible in the event of a threat.

Karen Kersey, VP Operations, dms Organization Ltd”

“Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it.” -  Publilius Syrus (1st century BC); Roman writer of mimes.

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March 2019
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