What makes us think that in the heat of a crisis people will suddenly become more qualified, more experienced, better decision makers, or that they will use new technology, systems or processes?
It makes perfect sense but I first heard it from Professor Scot Phelps at the Emergency Management Academy of New York. In a presentation at the World Conference on Disaster Management in 2009 he argued that crisis systems and processes should be as close as possible (or the same as) business as usual systems and processes. He gave the example where managers often claim that crisis systems and process such as crisis communication tools, are not effective or are completely ignored during crisis events. Of course his conclusion was that if people are not well practised in using a system or process during business as usual, they certainly will not use it effectively during a crisis.
You can’t suddenly expect people to work in new ways during a crisis!
Most recently this issue came up again in a conversation on a Crisis, Emergency and Disaster Recovery Professional discussion board where one member asked whether crisis management teams performed roles that were an extension of their day-to-day duties or whether they use a different unique structure. This highlights a wider hot topic of discussion within business resilience disciplines over the past few months, how much of business continuity, crisis management, risk management etc. contributes towards business as usual? Of course the answer is that the purpose of all resilience disciplines is to support, protect and enable the organisations objectives so it should all contribute to business as usual.
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