A crisis is anything that creates an impediment to the success and perceived value of your organization.
We are all aware of certain obvious and well-known crises involving tainted, shoddy or defective products. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Your organization may be confronted with high profile litigation, an industry-wide government investigation, the resignation of a well-known executive, an environmental or natural disaster or a major internet failure. The list goes on – illegal employee activities, computer data loss, a walkout or a strike.
You and your colleagues can brainstorm the vulnerabilities of your organization and take steps to protect yourselves before the fact. Protection takes many forms and these are the nuts and bolts aspect of mitigation – taking steps to reduce physical loss; taking steps to anticipate and mitigate crises that have not yet ocurred. First, insurance: flood, fire, catastrophic, third party liability, product liability, key man insurance, officers and directors’ liability insurance. There is insurance for practically everything if you can afford it. Next, there are internal measures such as laboratory testing, and computer backup and file storage. An organization, whether a business, or a not-for-profit, must anticipate its soft spots and plan ahead. This is mitigation before the fact and lessens the impact of a crisis
Mitigation after the fact is a whole different animal. Yes, you will have to ramp up the IT people or your lab technicians, make alternate plans for business continuation. There may be alot of mop-up. But now you are faced with an additional problem: public perception. Are you a deer caught in headlights or are you in full charge and control. do you have a plan in place? Do you have a spokesperson? Do you know how to take responsibility and avoid legal pitfalls?
Post-crisis mitigation is essential to the long-term survival of your organization. Without well planned and well executed post-crisis mitigation some organizations have found that they cannot recoup lost ground and cannot reclaim their previous stature or standing, whether it be worldwide or local. It must be taken seriously. When executed well, post crisis mitigation can even enhance reputation and standing.