Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Implementing crisis decisions – turning desire into reality

Alan Elwood
Risk and Resilience Ltd

So far I have posted about the need to concentrate on ensuring your OODA Loop can operate faster than the emergency and talked about how to manage information and actions in a crisis. To complete this series of three blog posts I am going to look at how you can structure crisis decision making. Decision making in a crisis is not the same as in everyday circumstances so you will need access to different tools. Here are five things to consider:

Key Questions: Have a system to guide your decision making that analyses the situation but also allows you to use your experience and intuition. Think about the key set of questions you need to ask yourself and write them down in advance. These questions should help you (1) understand what is going on and the implications of that; (2) appreciate what needs to be done and why it needs to be done; (3) be clear on where your priority lies; and (4) identify, resource and co-ordinate tasks. Once you have this in place make its use is second nature - rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!

Getting Your Intention Across: Remember those completing a task may encounter unforeseen problems. Tell people why they need to complete each task so that if they encounter a difficulty they can adapt the task given to them and still achieve the intent.

Achieving a Focus: There will be lots going on so to avoid dissipation of effort, make it clear where the focus lies. Define what is critical for success and make sure everyone knows and is working towards that. It can help to define the end state - what will success look like?

Using Resources: Resources are scarce so use them wisely. Allocate resources to those tasks that are supporting your focus. Others will have to wait. Remember that not everything will go to plan so have spare capacity. Don’t allocate them all at once and know where you can get more resources.

Using Time Effectively: The one resource that can’t be regenerated is time. If you have to take decisions then think about those who will have to implement them. Leave them the time to do that. Work out how much time is available between starting the decision process and the resulting actions needing to take place. Then use one third of that time to take the decision and leave two thirds for everyone else.

Alan will be discussing this and the issue of incident management within the 'BC in Action' stream at the BCM World Conference on Wednesday 6th November, starting at 15:20.

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