Implement Crisis Management Best Practices

Don’t be another example of what not to do. Implement an effective crisis response plan to minimize the impact on business continuity, reputation, and profitability.


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Your Challenge

  • Business contingency and IT disaster recovery plans focus on how to resume normal operations following an incident. The missing piece is how does the organization initially respond to and assess an incident, including whether to execute the BCP/DRP.
  • Organizations that don’t have a crisis management plan are far less able to minimize the impact of other crises such as a security breach, health & safety incident, or attacks on their reputation.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • “Soft costs” from ineffective crisis management (e.g. reputational damage) have a significant impact on the bottom line, as measured by a drop in shareholder value.
  • The Target and Home Depot security breaches illustrate the impact of poor crisis management (Target experienced long-term bottom-line impact) versus effective crisis management (Home Depot experienced minimal short-term impact).
  • IT leaders are a critical resource for crisis management, not only for IT-related incidents but also to support crisis response activities such as communications.

Impact and Result

  • Create a crisis management plan that provides a framework for responding to any crisis, from health and safety incidents to business disruptions to reputational damage.
  • Establish a hierarchy of crisis management teams to expedite crisis assessment and response.
  • Pre-plan for likely potential crises to improve your ability to respond to those crises and implement a structure that can be applied to a wide range of other potential crises. 

Implement Crisis Management Best Practices


Identify and prioritize potential crises

Determine relevant smoldering and sudden crises and prioritize them according to highest threat. 


Identify crisis management gaps

Use a tabletop planning exercise to discover gaps and vulnerabilities in the organization's crisis management plan.


Create crisis management teams (CMTs)

Document all the necessary members of the CMTs and identify third parties that will assist the organization during a crisis. 


Define emergency response and situational assessment plans

Create pre-determined crisis frameworks that establish processes for the crisis.


Establish the ethical base communication plan

Develop a specific set of communication documents that will address the base level crisis communication needs.


Define a plan for reputation repair

Devise a tailored crisis response strategy that will be most effective in dealing with the crisis.


Test the crisis management plan

Conduct tabletop plans based on a crisis from the prioritized list and a worst-case scenario involving compound crises.


Leverage lessons learned to improve the crisis management plan

Establish action items to further optimize the ideal crisis management plan.

Onsite Workshop

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Module 1: Identify Potential Crises and Your Crisis Management Gaps

The Purpose

  • Identify and prioritize relevant potential crises.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Enable crisis management pre-planning, and identify gaps in current crisis management plans.



Identify and prioritize smoldering crises


Identify and prioritize sudden crises

  • Prioritized list of potential crises


Evaluate current crisis management process and identify gaps

  • Current crisis management plan status and gaps identified

Module 2: Define Initial Response and Assessment Plans

The Purpose

  • Define your crisis response framework.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Enable a timely and effective initial response to wide range of crises.



Identify the crisis management teams as well as roles and responsibilities

  • Teams and contact information documented


Define an emergency response process

  • Notification and escalation process
  • Emergency response process


Define and document the situational assessment process

  • Situational assessment process
  • Overall crisis response framework

Module 3: Develop a Crisis Communication Plan

The Purpose

  • Define a crisis communication process and overall strategy.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Minimize reputational damage through effective and appropriate crisis communication.



Establish the ethical base communication plan


Define a communication plan for reputational repair

  • Crisis communication process flowchart


Implement best practices for internal and external communications

  • Crisis communication templates for pre-planned messages

Module 4: Optimize Your Overall Crisis Management Plan

The Purpose

  • Implement a process for continuous improvement of your crisis management plan.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Improve your crisis management capability by learning from previous crises, plan reviews, and testing.



Test your crisis management plan against the identified potential crises as well as a worst-case scenario

  • Post-crisis review (organizational learning) process


Formalize the post-crisis review process to ensure lessons learned are identified and addressed in your crisis management plan

  • Crisis management plan review and testing schedule